Cyanide in Almonds; Recall to Western Whole Foods Markets

Marin Foods Specialties, Inc. of Byron, California, recalled Organic Raw Almonds (bitter almonds), due to their possibly containing elevated levels of naturally occurring hydrogen cyanide according to laboratory test results.


Bitter almonds are the wild form of the edible "sweet almonds." Bitter almonds contain a chemical called glycoside amygdalin, which becomes transformed into toxic prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide) after they are crushed or chewed.


Eating foods that contain prussic acid may result in some or all of the following signs and clinical symptoms within minutes: dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, restlessness, and weakness. Exposure to higher quantities of food containing prussic acid may cause other more serious health effects including convulsions, loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, lung injury, slow heart rate, and respiratory failure leading to death. Showing these signs and symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has been exposed to cyanide. Treatment with supportive measures and available specific and efficacious antidotes frequently allows survival.


The products were labeled as “Whole Foods Market Organic Raw Almonds Imported from Italy” and “Whole Foods Market Organic Raw Almonds Imported from Spain,” and were packaged in 13.5 oz. plastic tubs. The recalled products have sell-by dates from 4/18/15 to 6/7/15 and a UPC code of 9-99482-00071-7. The recalled product was distributed to Whole Foods Market stores only in Northern California; Oregon; Washington; Reno, Nevada; and Boise, Idaho.


See the Recall


See also Medical Law Perspectives, July 2012 Report: Foodborne Illness: When Grabbing a Bite Can Be Deadly