Fiji's Family Network
Fact or Fiction ??
"The cassava plant is the world's third most important crop. Although it originated in Brazil (where it is called manioc), it was brought to Africa by Portuguese colonists, and it is now an important crop there and in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. It is the principal source of nutrition for about 500 million people. Its leaves are edible but the prize is its starchy root, rich in protein, minerals and vitamins A, B and C.
Cassava enters the North American diet also - we make it into tapioca.
Surprising for an important edible plant, it is quite poisonous without proper preparation. The toxin in cassava is called linamarin. It is chemically similar to sugar but with a CN ion attached. When eaten raw, the human digestive system will convert this to cyanide poison. Even two cassava roots contain a fatal dose of poison."
"It is the reason the Japanese Ministry of Health prohibits the use of cassava for human consumption.
The toxin in cassava is called "linamarin". It is chemically similar to sugar but with a CN ion attached. When eaten raw, the human digestive system will convert this to cyanide poison. Just a few pieces of cassava roots contain a fatal dose of poison.
We often see it not only on TV news programs but also on local tabloid papers, where school students were killed after eating cassava cake for their snacks. Many of those who prepared cassava cakes rushed to the nearby hospitals when they ate it. The reason of death was due to "cyanide poisoning".
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Over 27 children are dead, and another 100 are hospitalized, after eating tainted cassava on the central Philippine island of Bohol, according to local officials. Francisca Doliente told The Associated Press that a friend who shared a portion of the cassava with her 9-year-old niece, Arve Tamor, was "gone...She died".
"It was during recess time. The children bought cassava," said Mabini Vice-Mayor Ester Tabigue.
"Several children were brought here vomiting and complaining of stomach aches," said Dr. Elpidio Bonito. He noted that seven children did not make it to the hospital before succumbing to the food poisoning.
At the Ubay L.G. Cotamura Community Hospital, Dr. Leta Cutamora confirmed 14 fatalities and 35 others under treatment.
Almost 50 students from the San Jose Elementary School were sent to two other hospitals. One of the sellers of the cassava, a middle-aged woman, was also sent to the hospital.
Cassava is a starchy delicacy made from a tropical plant. It is poisonous when raw, and must be prepared properly so it is not converted into cyanide by the human digestive system.
"Some said they took only two bites because it tasted bitter and the effects were felt five to 10 minutes later," said Dr. Harold Garcia, from the Garcia Memorial Provincial Hospital.
A sample of the cassava will be studied at local Crime Laboratory Group, to try and determine what caused the food poisoning. The cassava was deep-fried and caramelized.
@ Mr.James M..Sa lucky o au sa sigi kania tu na yuka..lols! but cava era sigi mate kina na nonda ni vaka me sa staple diet tu mai noda?Taro tu ga ani qo!
lol....UKoroi...I wish I knew.....taro tale ga qori au taroga the first time I heard this....baleta beka ni kedatou cannibals tu mai liu,qai muri mai na tavioka,lol,...via oti saraga na kana tavioka....draki qo,raisi ga!!!...
"It was known that the bitter kinds of cassava are more poisonous than the sweet varieties. I believe the bitterness of cassava is caused by under-dried and infertile and gravel-conditioned land."
"Water and fertilizer are important to have sweet cassava or less toxic crop. According to scientific studies, the bitter variety of cassava contains large amounts of the cyanogenic glycosides "linamarin" and "lotaustralin". Toxic elements are concentrated on its surface or peel. The toxic substances may affect the liver, kidney, and some parts of the brain when the poisons are accumulated in the body. We suspect that the toxic substances in cassava may involve destroying the pituitary gland that causes liver and kidney damage"
There are two kinds of cassava: the sweet and the bitter kinds. The ordinary kind sold in the market is the sweet kind, and the one made into laundry starch is the bitter kind.
The manner of planting, whether horizontal or upside down has nothing to do with its poison. Cassava naturally contains hydrocyanic acid, which is poison to both man and animal. The bitter kind contains more of the poison, but both kinds have it.
In the sweet kind, the poison is concentrated on the bark or skin of the crop, not so much on the flesh or meat. In the bitter kind, the poison is spread out on whole crop.
Weather and environment also have something to do with the cassava's poison content. When there is much nitrogen in the soil, there is more poison in the cassava where potassium in the soil is high, the poison in the cassava is low.
A long dry season increases the cassava's poison content: wet soil as during the rainy season lowers its poison content. Because of this, it is said that cassava contains poison in Summer.
According to scientists, cassava's poison contains more or less 30-150 mg of hydrocyanic acid (a milligram is one part of a thousand grams). If the hydrocyanic acid content is less than 50 mg it will not be harmful to eat. If it will exceed 100 mg. the poison content could be dangerous.
In the ordinary way of cooking, the poison disappears in the sweet kind but in the bitter kind, about 20 mg per kilo remains in the fresh peeled cassava.
According to experts, the amount of hydrocyanic acid in cassava is poisonous from one-half mg (.5 mg) up to 3.5 mg per kilo of the person eating the cassava. Thus, a person who weighs 50 kilos will be poisoned if he consumes one and one-fourth (1 1/4) kilo of bitter cassava. When his stomach begins to ache and he starts vomiting, or his mind becomes confused after eating cassava, then he has been poisoned.
The poison in cassava disappears during cooking, so, cooking cassava as suman is a safe way of eating cassava. Besides, suman preparation entails removal of bark, grating, extracting the juice, before cooking. Grating and extracting the juice already removes the poison, and it is further evaporated during cooking.
Other ways of removing the poison in cassava are: chopping, soaking in water, heating up to 57°C, and exposing in the sun. It is best not just to steam it but to cook it well. Even the bitter kind loses its poison when cooked well.
But it is always better to buy the sweet kind. This is known if, upon removal of the bark, the flesh is sweet. The meat of the sweet cassava tastes sweet!
Source: Greenfields December 1980, photo courtesy of www.arafood.com
Hope this helps bro!
Mr.James M,...."Cannibals"??Au sa oca na vakananuma cava e rau lako vata kina na kana lewe ni tamata tabu saka ani kei na poisoni e tiko vena tavioka.E so na noqu friends eke era kai South America.The do eat that too n sometimes the cassava is shipped up here from Mexico.One thing that I found when eating cassava from Mexico is that its kind of bitter.Gaga saraga valevu n I had stopped eating it.De rairai beka na kena waxed taki tu mai se sa leqa ga na noqu allegies se vena na vanua e tei kina kei na wainimate e use taki kina mei vakabulabula ni qele?
Sa kua na kana raisi, sa maleka ga meu sa kania tu ga na kakana vakaturaga e colo qo sai koa na BABAKAU!lols!
Tau MZ UK sa rauji iko vinaka sala na kana Tovoi Kai hahahahahaaaa........
Au dau matau vei au na kania na tavioka droka,ia e sega ga ni dua na leqa e yacova na noqu bula...de tavioka beka ni Viti e duidui mai na kena ka vakamacalataki tiko qo.
Ukoroi...lol....kua ni vakasama vakalevu....kauta ga mai na kemu babakau me daru wase!!!
Vinaka Frank...since most of us were not aware of the fact that cassava had poison and could kill,im now thinking of the possibility that some victims of cassava poisoning go undetected in Fiji....or poisoning cases blamed on other food items while cassava was the silent culprit....or it could be a slow killer affecting the liver,kidney,etc.....since Japanese Ministry of Health prohibits the use of cassava for human consumption,it would be nice if our government do a research on the health hazards of cassava since it is one of our main staple diet in Fiji.
Hmmmmm..interesting indeed...welll what can we say..the kaiviti immune system sa divine ka jina ga!!