A batch of whole rye flour sold in Spain is contaminated by a fungus that can cause pain, hallucinations, and seizures. The affected flour is produced by the brand Biográ and belongs to batch number 21-005, with an expiration date of 30/05/2023.
The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) issued an alert due to the presence of ergot alkaloids in this product. These toxic substances are produced by a fungus called Claviceps purpurea, which infects cereal grains such as rye, wheat, barley, millet, and oats.
Consuming these alkaloids can lead to a condition known as ergotism, which is characterized by symptoms such as hallucinations, seizures, numbness, tingling, pain, cyanosis, absence of pulse, and sudden intense cold in the limbs, which may be followed by acute burning sensations and abdominal pain. These effects can be severe and may require urgent medical attention.
AESAN advises people who have the affected batch of Biográ whole rye flour at home to refrain from consuming it and to return it to the point of sale. Furthermore, those who have consumed the product and are experiencing any of the described symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
According to AESAN, the contaminated flour has been distributed mainly in the Valencian Community, Castilla-La Mancha, Balearic Islands, Galicia, Andalusia, Canary Islands, Castile and León, Community of Madrid, La Rioja, Basque Country, and Catalonia. However, it cannot be ruled out that the product may have reached other autonomous communities. Health authorities are working to remove the product from commercial channels, as reported by 20 Minutos.
Ergotism is a rare disease nowadays, thanks to advances in agricultural knowledge and technology that help prevent and detect fungal contamination in cereals. However, it is crucial to remain vigilant about potential cases and follow health authorities’ recommendations to avoid health risks.