Green and strongly germinating potato tubers should be sorted out

Following a case of poisoning caused by a potato dish, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is reminding people about the correct handling of potatoes. Glycoalkaloids, of which solanine is an important derivative, are natural ingredients of the potato, but the ingestion of higher amounts of glycoalkaloids can lead to poisoning in humans. “Although only a few cases of poisoning caused by potato dishes have been reported and documented in the last 100 years, green and strongly germinating potatoes should not be consumed in order to avoid health risks” says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. Based on the latest level of available knowledge, the BfR has derived a provisional NOAEL (No Observed Adverse Effect Level) of 0.5 milligrams (mg) of glycoalkaloids per kilogram (kg) body weight and day. This equates to the highest dose at which no undesired health effects were observed. To avoid an exceedance of the NOAEL, the glycoalkaloid content in table potatoes should be no higher than 100 mg per kg fresh weight. Up to now, potatoes with a glycoalkaloid content of up to 200 mg per kg have generally been considered safe.