If you have ever let potatoes sit out too long, you may have seen them turn a green-ish colour. When this occurs, we ask ourselves the question – should I bin them or are they still OK to eat?

What a lot of people do not realise is that this colour is an indicator that the levels of certain toxins from the potato have increased, which can be dangerous to the human body.

These harmful toxins, known as glycoalkaloids, are naturally present in potatoes, and the greening of potatoes is a natural process. When potatoes are not correctly stored, are damaged, or are exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, these toxins increase at a rapid pace and may become harmful. They cause the potatoes to change from yellow or light brown to green.

There are several reports that suggest potatoes containing high levels of glycoalkaloids can lead to nausea, vomiting and headaches.

These harmful toxics are most present in the skin of the potatoes. Because of this, some suggest that peeling the potato to get rid of the green ‘bits’ reduces the level of harmful toxins, and while this is true, this may not be enough to make the potatoes safe to eat. Others have suggested that boiling the potatoes is also a good way to get rid of the toxins. Unfortunately, boiling, and other cooking methods do not reduce toxin levels and will not make the potatoes any safer to eat.

To avoid your potatoes turning green, make sure they are not damaged before buying them and store them away from the light in a cool place. If you notice they are turning green, it will be best to just add them to the food recycling bin.

M&P Engineering is an industry leading manufacturer and supplier of food processing and packaging equipment to food production sites across the globe. With over 50 years’ experience in the industry, M&P Engineering has grown to become a global business.

M&P Engineering manufactures high quality fresh cut machinery. New technology is constantly being developed and improved to meet the ever-increasing demand for fresh fruit and vegetables ready to eat.

M&P’s Carousel Grid Cutting Machine is capable of cutting vegetables and fruit into fries, batons, wedges, petals and slices.

In addition, M&P Engineering also has available a world-renowned onion peeling machine. M&P’s large onion peeler uses self-adjusting knife assemblies to top, tail and peel onions. It also uses air compressors to remove the outer skin.

If you would like to find out more information about M&P’s products and services, please call on +44 (0)161 872 8378 or contact us here.

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