Man nearly dies after eating cherry stones

Curiosity (nearly) killed the cat

Olivia Petter
Friday 28 July 2017 10:12 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


A father-of-three from Blackpool was rushed to hospital after consuming three cherry stones - unaware that they contained cyanide.

Matthew Creme, 28, had been enjoying the box of Suntrail Farm cherries, which he purchased from Tesco, when he decided to try a stone.

Out of curiosity, Creme bit into the stone to find a nut inside and, after coming to the conclusion that it tasted rather delicious, ate two more.

Cherry stones contain amygdalin, a compound which, when ingested, breaks down into hydrogen cyanide.

Despite no warning on the product’s packaging, within 10 minutes the call centre coach soon began to feel increasingly unwell and his temperature soared.

His partner, Georgina Mason, 23, called the emergency services and after being told that he had consumed a lethal dose of cyanide, Creme was rushed to hospital where he was promptly treated.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning can include stomach cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. If untreated, it can lead to cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and death.

A fatal dose can be as little as 1.5mg per kg of a person’s bodyweight.

A recent study showed that the amygdalin content of apple seeds was 3mg per gram of seeds, with one seed weighing roughly 0.7g.

Apple lovers don’t fret quite yet, as not all of this would be converted into cyanide. One would have to consume a substantial number of apple pips to poison themselves.

So which fruits are the ones to look out for when it comes to amygdalin? Whilst red cherries contain 3.9mg/g of seeds, apricots contain a staggering 14.4mg/g but greengage plums are the biggest offenders, with 17.5g/mg.


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