Muscat: Tons of potatoes have been destroyed in Oman after a ministerial circular warned about contamination with solanine, a naturally occurring toxic material in potatoes.
The seized potatoes were exposed to heat and not stored well, according to the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRWWR).
Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison found in species of nightshade family like potato and tomato. It occurs naturally in the plant, its leaves and fruits. Solanine consumption causes gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.
Symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps, burning of the throat, cardiac dysrhythmia, nightmares, headache and dizziness.
The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRWWR) seized large quantities of inconsumable potatoes in Yanqul, Dhank, Salalah and Buriami provinces.
An official at MRWWR told Gulf News that thorough inspection will be conducted in other provinces and wholesales markets to ensure safety of the consumers.
The official said random potato samples from shops will be tested in the main laboratories nationwide before further action is taken. The official said there were no reports of anyone affected or poisoned from the consumption of potato.
In Buraimi, more than 200kg of potatoes were dumped by Buraimi Municipality after they were found to contain solanine.
Dhofar Municipality has ordered shopkeepers to take potatoes off the shelves. The Directorate General of Regional Municipality and Water Resources in the Governorate of Al Buraimi and Dhofar called upon citizens and expatriates not to buy potatoes that are dominated by green colour as they are dangerous to health.
Meanwhile, nationals have called the authorities concerned to intensify the inspection visits to all provinces.
Naser Al Matroshi, a Sur resident, told Gulf News that potatoes should be seized from the province as it is a danger to the health of consumers.
Al Matroshi added that Sur municipality has started to seize potatoes but some shops still sell the commodity.
Ahmad Al Muqbali, a Sohar resident, he has stopped buying potatoes from the shops as he afraid.
“I will not buy potatoes until investigations are completed regarding the poisonous solanine in potatoes,” he said.