Lupin seeds: Health impairments possible with bitter taste

June 01, 2017

If these alkaloids are not properly removed in a so-called "debittering process", they can trigger poisoning in humans which affects the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems. "When purchasing unprocessed lupin seeds, it is usually not easy to tell if they are of the bitter variety, which contain toxic alkaloids, or the sweet variety, which can be eaten without further processing," says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. There have been isolated reports in the past of cases of poisoning in Germany caused by bitter lupin seeds. "The BfR recommends that consumers who do not have proper knowledge only purchase sweet lupin seeds which are clearly marked as such, or bitter lupin seeds which have already been debittered, instead of debittering the lupin seeds themselves".

For the period 2010 to 2016, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) received data from the Poison Information Centres on approx. 30 concrete cases with poisoning symptoms with varying degrees of severity caused by bitter lupin seeds. In addition to this, reports of cases of poisoning through bitter lupin seeds with sometimes severe outcomes were published in international literature. Most of these cases were attributable to the inadequate debittering of the bitter lupin seeds in private kitchens.

If lupin seeds or products made from them have a bitter taste, this can be an indicator for the presence of lupin alkaloids, which are undesired from a health point of view. The bitter-tasting water in which lupin seeds were soaked should not be consumed under any circumstances either or used for the preparation of foods.

Foods containing lupin seeds are only rarely consumed in Germany at the moment. In a nationwide representative "Consumer Survey on the Consumption of Lupin Seeds" commissioned by the BfR, 19% of the participants stated that they knew that lupin seeds were edible. Of this number in turn, 46% had consciously eaten food containing industrially produced or self-prepared lupin seeds. At 9.2%, the percentage of respondents who have consciously eaten foods containing lupin seeds is low. The share of those who purchased unprocessed lupin seeds and further processed them by themselves lay at 1.2%.

The BfR recommends to the producers of foods containing lupin seeds that they only market lupin seeds which can be consumed without the need for any further debittering processes at home. These can be sweet lupin seeds, which have naturally low alkaloid levels, or bitter lupin seeds, which have already been sufficiently debittered by the manufacturer. Where flour made from lupin seeds is sold to consumers, the manufacturers should ensure that it was made from lupin seeds which were low in alkaloids or sufficiently debittered.
-end-
The BfR has published a detailed risk assessment of alkaloid levels in lupin seeds in its Opinion No. 003/2017:

http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/349/risk-assessment-of-the-occurrence-of-alkaloids-in-lupin-seeds.pdf

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

Related Consumers Articles from Brightsurf:

When consumers trust AI recommendations--or resist them
The key factor in deciding how to incorporate AI recommenders is whether consumers are focused on the functional and practical aspects of a product (its utilitarian value) or on the experiential and sensory aspects of a product (its hedonic value).

Do consumers enjoy events more when commenting on them?
Generating content increases people's enjoyment of positive experiences.

Why consumers think pretty food is healthier
People tend to think that pretty-looking food is healthier (e.g., more nutrients, less fat) and more natural (e.g., purer, less processed) than ugly-looking versions of the same food.

How consumers responded to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for laying out the different threats that consumers face, and that consumers must prepare themselves for a constantly shifting landscape moving forward.

Is less more? How consumers view sustainability claims
Communicating a product's reduced negative attribute might have unintended consequences if consumers approach it with the wrong mindset.

In the sharing economy, consumers see themselves as helpers
Whether you use a taxi or a rideshare app like Uber, you're still going to get a driver who will take you to your destination.

Helping consumers in a crisis
A new study shows that the central bank tool known as quantitative easing helped consumers substantially during the last big economic downturn -- a finding with clear relevance for today's pandemic-hit economy.

'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers
In tests, consumers in upstate New York were willing to pay more for broccoli grown in New York when they knew where it came from, Cornell University researchers found.

Should patients be considered consumers?
No, and doing so can undermine efforts to promote patient-centered health care, write three Hastings Center scholars in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Consumers choose smartphones mostly because of their appearance
The more attractive the image and design of the telephone, the stronger the emotional relationship that consumers are going to have with the product, which is a clear influence on their purchasing decision.

Read More: Consumers News and Consumers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.