Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
WITH THIRTY-FIVE cases of ackee poisoning recorded in the country between December 1, 2010, and Wednesday, January 12, this year, the Ministry of Health has placed the country on high alert when consuming the national fruit.
The ministry yesterday said all the incidents of ackee poisoning had been from ackees cooked at home. It said no case of ackee poisoning had resulted from the consumption of the tinned product.
The Outbreak Response Team of the ministry has been called out by Minister of Health Rudyard Spencer to discuss and plan measures to strengthen the programme of public education.
The public has also been warned against eating unfit and unopened ackees.
In a media release yesterday, Spencer said special attention should be paid to ensure that only fit and well-opened ackees are used by householders.
"It cannot be said too often that ackee should be allowed to open naturally and fully on the tree before it is picked and eaten or sold," Spencer said.
He added: "They should not be opened by force, or by using a knife or any other implement. The water that is used to boil the ackee should be discarded immediately, and should not be ingested or reused for cooking other foods such as ground provisions and rice."
Ackee, Jamaica's national fruit, if not properly ripened, contains high levels of a toxin called hypoglycin, which can potentially lead to death if consumed.