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Buckwheat flour recalled after links to dozens of diseases in France

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Buckwheat flour recalled after links to dozens of diseases in France

A brand of flour has been recalled in France after dozens of people became ill.

French officials said there was a risk that JP Coteau brand buckwheat flour could become contaminated with Datura.

Additional cases registered by the Regional Health Service of Brittany (ARS) and checks by the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations in Ille-et-Vilaine, together with the producer concerned, led to the initial warning being extended.

French media quoted Brittany’s Regional Health Service as reporting that 49 people were sick, including five children. Five people required hospital treatment.

Products removed from sale

The affected products were sold from October 7, 2023 at points of sale specialized in organic products, in supermarkets, at local markets or directly from the producer, mainly in the west of France. Recall and withdrawal measures have now been taken.

This concerns all batches of buckwheat flour from the JP Cloteau brand of 1 kilogram, 2.5 kilograms, 5 kilograms or 25 kilograms with an expiration date between October 2024 and March 2025.

Officials urged people with any of the affected products not to consume them and to return the items to the point of sale for destruction.

Datura is a plant that grows in fields and naturally contains high levels of tropane alkaloids, such as atropine and scopolamine. It can contaminate crops and cause acute poisoning.

Symptoms may include dry mouth, dilated pupils, decreased vision, confusion, hallucinations, faster heart rate, incoherent speech and balance problems. They occur relatively quickly after ingestion, from minutes to hours, and can last 24 to 48 hours.

For grains and grain products, good agricultural and harvesting practices minimize contamination of the crop by seeds of species containing tropane alkaloids, such as Datura stramonium. Such seeds can be removed from certain grains by sorting and cleaning. However, they cannot be easily removed from sorghum, millet, corn and buckwheat.

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