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Foods -- Fruit

Is it safe to eat the pits and seeds from fruit?

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Avoid eating apricot kernels, peach, plum cherry and choke cherry pits and apple, pear and quince seeds. All of these seeds contain amygdalin. During digestion amygdalin releases hydrogen cyanide that interferes with respiration. The body can detoxify small quantities of cyanide. In large doses, cyanide is lethal. There are cases of accidental poisoning from children consuming seeds or kernels in quantities.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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