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Toxic Pine Nuts?


zoramargolis
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This was news to me. Has anyone heard about or experienced this problem?

I've read/heard about it a number of times over probably the past year from people who have experienced it, but I have not had the problem myself.

ETA: I don't know that they're toxic, but they leave people with a strange taste in their mouths that affects everything they eat for up to a week. I haven't seen anything indicating that there is permanent damage of some kind attached to this phenomenon.

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Pesto makes me nauseous, which I've attributed to the pine nuts, since I use evoo and eat garlic and basil without problem. It might be the amount of oil in pesto that disagrees with me, nonetheless, I'm put off from pine nuts for life.

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This was news to me. Has anyone heard about or experienced this problem?

I had, oddly heard about this, but thanks for linking to the LA Times food section! It never occurred to me to check them out and I've already found two things I want to make.

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This was news to me. Has anyone heard about or experienced this problem?

I first heard about it in March of last year; then David Leibovitz brought it up this year and I was reminded. I've been leery of buying pine nuts ever since, I have to admit, although I still eat things made with them ... how easy is it to determine the provenance of the pine nuts you can buy? I worry that even if the label says the product is from Italy (for example), they might be importing them from elsewhere before packing them up to send here.

Or maybe I'm paranoid. :)

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This is "old news". Where I work we have been aware of this issue, intermittently, for over a year. I have not been directly involved, but to the best of my understanding, the pine nuts in question came out of the Sino-Russian border and they were presumed "econmically adulturated" although I was never told with what- but if I had to take an educated guess it was some kind of preservative. You should have no problem with very fresh pine nuts coming out of Western Europe or North America. If you r anyone you know does have an incident with pine nut mouth you should immediatly notify the store where you purchased the product and then call the FDA because the USDA and FDA have an open investigation into this issue. Also, in these types of cases it is always extremely helpful to have a sample for forensic analysis.

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This is "old news". Where I work we have been aware of this issue, intermittently, for over a year. I have not been directly involved, but to the best of my understanding, the pine nuts in question came out of the Sino-Russian border and they were presumed "econmically adulturated" although I was never told with what- but if I had to take an educated guess it was some kind of preservative. You should have no problem with very fresh pine nuts coming out of Western Europe or North America. If you r anyone you know does have an incident with pine nut mouth you should immediatly notify the store where you purchased the product and then call the FDA because the USDA and FDA have an open investigation into this issue. Also, in these types of cases it is always extremely helpful to have a sample for forensic analysis.

While it may be "old news" to some, it hasn't been so widely disseminated that everyone interested in food issues (like me) had heard about it. There are probably a lot of cheap, Chinese pine nuts residing in freezers and refrigerators out there that could be problematic. And the source of pine nuts is not always identified on the packaging label.

I was emailed by someone who read the link I posted and then cancelled an appointment she'd made with an ENT MD because of the persistent "bitter" taste in her mouth since eating a salad sprinkled with pine nuts a few days ago.

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I believe I'm experiencing this "syndrome" right now. I had a handful of pine nuts a few nights ago. Waitman thought it was all in my head until our daughter said she tasted it too :( . It is decidedly not pleasant. Strangley, the only food or beverage I can consume with experiencing a bitter/metallic taste at the back of my throat is Diet Coke. I hope it abates before I hit NYC at the end of next week.

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"Heads-Up" Bulletin

Food Safety & Defense Alerts

16-Mar-11 (A) Wednesday

[bitter (Chinese) Pine Nuts - UD # 3]

Snapshot

FDA: "Pine Mouth" and Consumption of Pine Nuts

In the past year FDA has received a number of consumer complaints regarding a bitter metallic taste associated with pine nuts. This taste, known as "pine mouth," typically begins 12 to 48 hours after consuming pine nuts, and lasts on average between a few days and two weeks. It is exacerbated by consumption of any other food during this period and significantly decreases appetite and enjoyment of food. The symptoms decrease over time with no apparent adverse clinical side effects.

In response to increased consumer complaints, FDA developed a detailed questionnaire, and collected and analyzed samples from some consumers submitting complaints. The Agency found that the majority of pine nuts associated with "pine mouth" were eaten in the raw state (either as snacks or as a component of salad or pesto sauce). It also found that consumers did not detect a rancid or off-taste when eating the pine nuts. Finally, FDA was able to confirm that "pine mouth" is an adverse food reaction to pine nuts that is clearly distinct from a typical food allergy.

FDA continues to analyze consumer complaints to identify the potential causes of "pine mouth" and to determine whether the severity of symptoms and likelihood of developing them is related to the amount of pine nuts consumed. FDA will continue to monitor this problem and keep the public posted regarding any new findings.

Consumers experiencing "pine mouth" may contact the FDA District Office in their area. For a list, go to the Consumer Complaint Coordinators page at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm

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