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Ackee alert! Dozens poisoned by fruit, ministry issues caution



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.


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Comment by Tessan Allen on February 5, 2011 at 2:45pm
You didnt like it because it was not prepared the right way when you ate it, only jamaicans know how to prepare ackee and saltfish or ackee and salt mackerel, so if its not prepared by a yardie, you wont see the big deal!!!
Comment by Nelson Poyotte on January 28, 2011 at 2:49pm

i cant say i feel sorry for anyone who dies as a result of eating something that could be poison. tried it once, didn't like it at all. don't see the big deal about it.

Comment by JamRockLady on January 23, 2011 at 11:08am
@Boss...I get what you're saying about "Jamaicans being their own worse enemy" but don't be so quick to rule out "government tricks, lies, hoaxes and sabotage".  They've done it before.
Comment by deborah rollerson on January 23, 2011 at 4:13am
OOOOH Boss careful you dont get investigated, or work for the INS or anywhere near it. OOOOOOOh
Comment by boss on January 21, 2011 at 4:37am
fi mi bad sis.
Comment by boss on January 18, 2011 at 3:08am
IslandgirlNY must be a small islander since yu don't know bout ackee(Lol).  It's been well documented that unfit ackee posoes a health threat.  That is one reason the FDA had banned import into USA for a long time till just a few years ago.  No JamRockLady, when ithis happens on a scale like this, the government have been known to issue a warning. Like some of the other comments; Jamaicans are our own worst enemy, we want the fast money, we bad mind, and sometimes just plain don't give a damn about our people.  Me LOVE my ackee and saltfish.  Gonna have some leftovers now.
Comment by Jason Samuels on January 16, 2011 at 7:24pm
@ Tessan.  You are totally correct.  If you have your own ackee tree you have no problem.  Just wait for it to open fully before you pick it.  There has not been any reports of poisoning from tinned ackees.  I believe they are well regulated.  Market stalls and people selling to friends, neighbours etc. are the ones to be wary of.  People have no problem jeopordising life for money and won't have the patience to wait for the fruit to open.
Comment by GonDada on January 16, 2011 at 4:11pm
Well, Jerry Farwell Will Now Say That The Jamaicans Sold Their Souls To The Devil For Their Freedom, And They Have To Pay Now.....If You Wanna Know About Jamaica...Look At The DVD... Life And Debt, It's On Netflix For Those Folks That Have It!
Comment by Kim Wilson on January 16, 2011 at 2:53pm
Comment by JANETTE on January 16, 2011 at 12:50pm
After all these years ...r u 4real...I love me ackee& salt fish

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