National recall of select poppy seeds

South Australians are advised to check the poppy seeds in their kitchens following a national recall of some batches of poppy seed products linked to poisoning.

SA Health advises the recalled products are not safe to consume and people who have purchased these recalled batches of poppy seeds should throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Products affected are listed on the FSANZ website and will be updated as needed.

At least one South Australian is known to have fallen ill after consuming the affected poppy seed product. It has been reported that a number of people have presented nationally to interstate Emergency Departments (ED) with severe poisoning.

A joint investigation with other states and territories and food safety authorities found the non-food grade poppy seeds have been sold as part of food grade products.

Investigations indicate the presence of unusually high levels of a naturally occurring chemical, Thebaine, in the poppy seeds is likely causing this toxicity.

Reported symptoms can be severe including seizures, cardiac arrest, severe muscle pain, severe muscle spasms, cramping, stiffness or abnormal movements.

Anyone who has consumed the recalled poppy seeds and has experienced any unusual and severe symptoms should seek immediate medical attention by calling triple zero (000) for emergency assistance. The South Australian Poisons Information Centre can also be contacted on 13 11 26.

SA Health is working with other jurisdictions, to investigate the issue further.

Quotes attributable to Dr Chris Lease, Executive Director Health Protection and Licensing Services:

We are urging people who have consumed the recalled poppy seeds, who experience any unusual or severe symptoms to seek immediate medical attention.

Consumers will not be able to tell which poppy seeds have high thebaine content by looking at the seeds and are advised not to eat them.

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