Tropane alkaloids – Govinda Nature recalls a batch of “Govinda Nature Teff Flour”.
There are many reasons to grind flour yourself at home – but now there is one more valid reason:
Govinda Nature’s recent recall is a striking example of the importance of being in control of our food. The company recently had to recall a batch of its“Govinda Natural Teff Flour” because it was contaminated with tropane alkaloids.
For those of you who don’t know: Tropane alkaloids are natural toxins found in some plant species that can cause health problems.
This incident is more than disturbing and should make us all rethink our eating habits. If we grind our own flour, we can avoid such surprises.
Grinding our own flour ...
… has many other benefits as well. It allows us to use fresher flour, which has more nutrients and flavor.
We have control over the quality and origin of the grains we use.
And it gives us the opportunity to experiment with different grains and add variety to our diet.
Let’s look at the recall as a reminder that we live in a world where we can’t always trust that what’s on the package is actually in the product. We must not only take care of our health, but also take responsibility for the quality of our food.
Grinding your own flour is not only an act of self-protection, but also an act of resistance to a system that keeps us from taking control of our diet.
Freshly milled flour is a sign of care, commitment and love for good food. It is a step towards a more conscious diet.
Grinding flour is a small step toward greater independence and self-determination.
A step, again a stronger connection to our food, a step in the right direction.
It pays off!
Tropane alkaloids are natural plant constituents found in a variety of plants, especially nightshade plants such as henbane, datura, and belladonna. More than 200 different tropane alkaloids are known, such as atropine and scopolamine. Plants form tropane alkaloids to protect themselves from predators (e.g. insects). These alkaloids are also toxic to humans.
Plants such as datura also grow in grain fields. If the grain is harvested, these plants are harvested with it. Thus, seeds of plants that produce tropane alkaloids can get under the cereal grains. There are ways to sift out foreign seeds, but if the seeds are about the same size, this is not always completely successful. These foreign seeds are then found in the cereal products and lead to measurable levels of tropane alkaloids. The basic goal in agriculture is to avoid these foreign plants in the field.
Symptoms of poisoning can occur rapidly (5 to 30 minutes) after ingestion of tropane alkaloids. Symptoms of poisoning with these substances are mainly dryness of mucous membranes (decreased salivation, dry mouth), skin dryness and redness, possibly pupil dilation, in higher quantities drowsiness, visual disturbances, palpitations, disorientation and hallucinations.
- If symptoms of poisoning occur after eating foods that may be contaminated, such as in cereals, millet or buckwheat and foods made from them, please consult a doctor
- Any leftover food or the package used to make the dish should be turned over to the appropriate food inspectorate
Limits for tropane alkaloids in foodstuffs
Based on EFSA’s 2018 assessment, the European Commission considers the presence of tropane alkaloids, particularly atropine and scopolamine, to be a health concern. Therefore, Regulation (EU) 2023/915 sets maximum levels for certain cereals, products derived from them and herbal teas.
Sources: Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL).