Poppy seed poisoning: NSW Health investigates 8 hospitalizations

NSW Health is warning people about the dangers of consuming large amounts of poppy seeds after at least eight people in NSW were taken to hospital with severe poisoning soon after ingesting them.

Early research has suggested that the high amount of natural substances in the raw poppy seeds may be a factor that needs to be well cooked to be destroyed.

There have been no cases of poisoning in people who have eaten poppy seeds as part of baked goods.

Symptoms of poisoning have only occurred when people have intentionally consumed poppy seeds as a drink.

Reported symptoms can be severe, including:

  • seizure
  • severe muscle pain
  • severe muscle spasms, cramps, stiffness or abnormal movements.

NSW Poisons Information Center medical director Darren Roberts said consuming large amounts of this chemical in poppy seeds could be dangerous.

“We encourage anyone who has ingested large amounts of poppy seeds, for example as a drink, and who experiences unusual and severe symptoms to seek immediate medical attention by visiting their nearest emergency room,” Roberts said.

Anyone showing symptoms is encouraged to call triple-0 for emergency assistance.

NSW Health is working with the NSW Food Authority, as well as other jurisdictions, to investigate further.

The NSW Poison Information Center can be contacted 24 hours a day on 13 11 26 and can provide more information about toxins and what to do if you suspect poppy seed poisoning.

Originally published as Poppy seed poisoning cases on the rise as NSW Health investigates

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