Sprouted potatoes and intoxication: knowing when not to eat them


Sprouted potatoes and intoxication: knowing when not to eat them

We often find sprouted potatoes and the question is: can we still eat them?


Here we need to offer some background and explanations about an important element that is contained in the potato peel: solanine. It has the task of protecting the tuber from fungi and pests that could affect it. This alkaloid works as follows: solanine increases if potatoes are not stored properly and causes the vegetable to sprout earlier. This element, however, being in the peel, does not affect it internally.

Are sprouted potatoes edible?

According to the Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR), the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, sprouted or overly green potatoes should not be consumed.

Solanine poisoning causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and sometimes fever, symptoms that could be attributable to other causes, not just the consumption of green potatoes.

The BfR reports other symptoms that are rarer, however, such as loss of consciousness, breathing problems or cardiovascular disorders.

The threshold of solanine that can be consumed while avoiding intoxication is not known, but the German institute has set the value at 100 mg per kilo of fresh potatoes.

It has also drawn up a handbook for the consumer on how to store potatoes to minimise the risk of intoxication.

The potatoes should be stored in a cool, dry place, preferably away from light. Do not consume sprouted, old, green or dried potatoes.

Remove the “eyes” that form on the tuber, it is also better not to consume the skin and to preferably choose  potatoes that are fresh, organic and in perfect condition.

Avoid eating dishes in which the taste of the potato is bitter and do not reuse the cooking water for food purposes. If they are fried, change the oil often.


Un utile consiglio da seguire è quello di evitare che le patate germoglino mantenendolo il più possibile al riparo dalle fonti di luce.


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