U.S. Ackee Ban Remains in Effect


News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. April 18, 2014:  While many Jamaican nationals may look forward with longing to ackee and saltfish this Easter weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is recommending seizure or import refusal of canned, frozen and other ackee products.

The ackee fruit which is harvested from the ackee tree (Blighia sapida), is native to West Africa, but is also found in Central and South America, many Caribbean countries including Jamaica, and southern Florida.

It contains the toxin hypoglycin A, which drops to negligible levels in the edible portion of the fruit when it is fully ripe,, making them safe to consume . However, the rind and seeds still have high levels of hypoglycin A when the fruit is fully ripe and should not be consumed.

When the product is improperly processed, concentrations can rise above 100 parts per million (ppm) and pose a health risk. The ingestion of hypoglycin A may result in no symptoms or symptoms that range from some vomiting  to severe vomiting with profound hypoglycemia, drowsiness, muscular exhaustion, prostration, and possibly coma and death.

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