Tropane alkaloid contamination of agricultural commodities and food products in relation to consumer health: Learnings from the 2019 Uganda food aid outbreak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Tropane alkaloids (TAs) are secondary plant metabolites derived mainly from Solanaceae plant families, with the most virulent invasive species being Datura stramonium. Datura stramonium commonly grows in cereal fields and produce TAs (e.g., hyoscyamine and scopolamine) which may accidentally contaminate cereals (and cereal-based foods) at occasionally high levels. Dietary exposure to TAs can be toxic and depending on the dose ingested can cause outcomes ranging from anticholinergic effects to acute poisoning and death. In 2019, 315 adults became ill and another five adults died in Uganda following consumption of a “Super Cereal” (a fortified blended food) that was later confirmed to be contaminated by TAs—a scenario which provoked this holistic review on TAs in foodstuffs. Thus, this article provides information on the history, development, occurrences, exposures, and human legislative and health benchmarks for TAs. It describes control strategies for reducing TA contamination of agricultural commodities and resultant health implications following consumption of TA contaminated foodstuffs. Adequate application of food safety control measures (including maximum limits) and good practices, from the start of cereal cultivation through to the final stages of manufacturing of food products can aid in the reduction of seeing toxic plants including D. stramonium in cereal fields.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Early online date10 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 10 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Institute of Food Technologists®

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • consumers’ health
  • Datura stramonium
  • food safety
  • Good agricultural/manufacturing practices
  • tropane alkaloids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science

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