Apricot recall: Three people hospitalised in Christchurch over potentially poisonous kernels

Three people have been hospitalised as a precaution after potentially poisonous apricot kernels were sold at a Christchurch food business.

Apricot tree. Source:

The trio have since been discharged. However, the Ministry for Primary Industries released a statement today recalling the product sold at Ethic Market in Linwood.

The sale of raw apricot kernels is prohibited under New Zealand food law.

Ministry for Primary Industries national manager for food compliance Melinda Sando said Ethnic Market Brand Apricot Pites (kernels) had been removed from shelves at the store while the product is traced to see where else it is available.

"In the meantime, we are advising that if people have purchased these kernels they should throw them out, or return them to the place where they were bought," she said.

“Raw apricot kernels contain a naturally occurring toxin which can break down to release cyanide when eaten. This can be harmful depending on the amount consumed."

The kernels can cause symptoms including nausea, stomach aches, headaches and respiratory symptoms and even cardiac arrest. Depending on the amount eaten, symptoms can be serious, especially in children.

MPI advised anyone concerned about their health or believes they have been affected to talk to their doctor.