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Fact Check: Apple seeds do contain cyanide but not poisonous enough to kill a person; viral post is misleading

The claim that apple seeds contain cyanide and eating them can kill a person is misleading and is missing context. While it is true that apple seeds contain cyanide in the form of amygdalin but a person would have to consume several apple seeds (by crushing) to cause cyanide poisoning.

  • By Vishvas News
  • Updated: July 20, 2021

New Delhi (Vishvas News): A viral claim on social media suggests that apple seeds contain cyanide – so even if the apple tastes good…looks good…. do not eat the poisonous seeds. Vishvas News investigated and found that apple seeds do contain cyanide, but not enough to kill a person. The viral post is missing crucial context and is misleading.

Claim

A post widely shared on Facebook claims: “Apple seeds contain cyanide – so even if the apple tastes good…looks good…. do not eat the poisonous seeds…..”

The archived version of the post can be checked here.

Investigation

We started our investigation by searching whether apple seeds contain cyanide. Cyanide is a chemical known as one of the deadliest poisons. It has been used in chemical warfare and mass suicide. Many compounds that contain cyanide—called cyanoglycosides—are found in nature, often in fruit seeds. Amygdalin is one of these.

Apple seeds, and many other fruit seeds or pits, have a strong outer layer resistant to digestive juices. But if you chew the seeds, amygdalin could be released in the body and produce cyanide. Small amounts can be detoxified by enzymes in your body. However, large amounts can be dangerous.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/cyanides.html cyanide is a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that kills by preventing cells in the body from using oxygen.

As per CDC, 1–2 mg/kg is a fatal oral dose of cyanide for a 154 lbs. man. Most apple cores contain around 5 apple seeds.

However, this amount will vary based on the health of the plant but not all of that translates into cyanide. A finely chewed and eaten dose of large number of apple cores can lead to a fatal dose.

So, ingesting few seeds isn’t going to kill unless a large amount is crushed and taken orally.

Vishvas News contacted AIIMS Poison Control Center. As per the expert, “Apple seeds do contain cyanide but few seeds isn’t going to kill.”

We scanned the profile of the Facebook user who shared the viral post. We found that the user named Marie Gogi is based out of Texas.

Conclusion: The claim that apple seeds contain cyanide and eating them can kill a person is misleading and is missing context. While it is true that apple seeds contain cyanide in the form of amygdalin but a person would have to consume several apple seeds (by crushing) to cause cyanide poisoning.

  • Claim Review : Apple seeds contain cyanide – so even if the apple tastes good…looks good…. do not eat the poisonous seeds…..
  • Claimed By : Marie Gogi
  • Fact Check : Misleading
Misleading
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