Lancashire man poisoned after eating cherry seeds

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Media caption,

Matthew Creme started feeling ill after eating three cherry pips

A man who suffered cyanide poisoning after eating cherry seeds has called for warnings to be put on packaging.

Matthew Crème, from Lancashire, said "curiosity" got the better of him when he decided to crack three of the seeds. However, he soon started to feel ill.

He was admitted to hospital after a 111 operator told him three pips could be fatal but has since fully recovered.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said some products made from stone fruits were regulated for safety.

Mr Crème called for warnings to be put on fruit packets, saying: "If something was that severe you'd think it'd be on the packaging."

An FSA spokeswoman said: "Some non-edible parts of fruits, such as cherry seeds, contain cyanide and are not intended to be consumed.

"Some edible products, such as alcoholic beverages made from stone fruits, and canned stone fruits can also contain a low level of cyanide. However, this is regulated to ensure these products are safe for consumption."

Why can cherry stones be deadly?

Image source, Getty Images
  • Cherry seeds contain a naturally occurring substance called amygdalin
  • This changes to the toxin cyanide after people eat it
  • Cyanide is a poisonous chemical that can cause nausea, fever, headaches, insomnia, thirst, lethargy, nervousness, aches and falling blood pressure
  • In extreme cases it can be fatal

Source: Food Standards Agency

Mr Crème was eating cherries on 17 July when he cracked a seed and found another inside with "an almond texture".

"It was just curiosity and you know what they say about curiosity," he said.

"[The seed] tasted similar to an almond but with a cherry flavour to it - I didn't think nothing of it, just thought it was a seed, so I ate it and continued to eat more of it."

'Potential poisoning'

Within 20 minutes of eating three seeds, he felt extreme tiredness and had a headache.

Mr Crème only realised the potential for poisoning after an online search and he rang 111.

His partner Georgina Mason took him to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he was given an antidote.

Mr Crème agreed to let doctors use his case for future reference as they had never previously treated cyanide poisoning caused by fruit seeds.

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