The dangers of green potatoes

your say December 03, 2014 01:00

Generally I am impressed with the meticulous way that large supermarkets in Thailand keep check of stock nearing its use-by date, either discounting it for quick sale and consumption or removing it from the shelves altogether.



But there is one area where they seem to be ignorant of dangers that, in extreme cases, can cause death.
Potatoes naturally produce small amounts of a toxin called solanine, which is a natural defence against insect pests.  But when kept for too long exposed to light, the solanine increases. It is easy to see as these potatoes have a definite green tinge on the skin, growing darker green as the solanine increases.
Eating green potatoes can cause severe intestinal disorders, including vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, and burning sensations in the throat, headaches, dizziness and hallucination, and may even cause death.
I have often seen dark green potatoes on the shelves at my local supermarket and in the local fresh food market and have tried to explain the dangers, but my warnings seemingly fell on deaf ears.
Perhaps it is because potatoes are not part of the Thai diet, so they don’t really care.
David Brown
Bangkok