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(BZfE) - Lupine seeds can possibly contain bitter-tasting toxins and endanger health, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) informed in a current statement. In Germany there have been isolated cases of poisoning from bitter lupine seeds in recent years. They were often due to a non-professional pre-treatment ("bitterness") of the seeds.
Lupine flour is used in food production, among other things, in gluten-free baked goods and pasta, soy substitutes and in diet products for people with milk protein allergies. In some European countries, lupine seeds are also popular as a snack. Food with lupine seeds is rarely served in Germany. According to a recent survey with over 2,000 participants, only 9 percent of people have consciously eaten a product with lupine seeds. Only one percent bought lupine seeds and processed them themselves.
Lupine seeds can contain different amounts of bitter quinolizidine alkaloids depending on the botanical type and geographical origin. If these pollutants are not removed properly, they can cause poisoning symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heartbeat and nausea. At very high doses, cardiac arrest and respiratory paralysis can result. A general distinction is made between sweet lupins and bitter lupins. Sweet lupins naturally have a low alkaloid content and can be eaten without further processing. Bitter lupine seeds, on the other hand, must be treated before preparation.
The BfR recommends that consumers only use sweet lupine seeds. However, on the label of unprocessed goods it is often not possible to tell which type it is. If the products contain bitter lupine seeds, they should already be industrially "debittered" and labeled accordingly. Heike Kreutz