Health care

What are NOTS? How they have been discussed under Food Safety Regulations?

11/22/2017 Lokesh kumar 0 Comments

Naturally Occurring Toxic Substances (NOTS) are those substances which contain potential harmful toxins. Generally, natural toxins are present in plants and animals. These toxins act as insecticides and protect plants from spoilage caused by insects. They protect plants from microbes like bacteria, fungi, and virus. Naturally occurring substances also give protection against damages caused by weather and harmful UV rays from sunlight. They are not toxic in nature. In a few cases, they may be considered toxic in nature and may not be safe for human consumption. Intake of NOTS may create allergic reactions in certain cases. This depends on the person’s sensitivity and concentration of the toxin.

Some of these naturally occurring toxic substances are very common in our food products. Here are a few common toxins. Take a look.

Toxins of Plant origin:

Natural Occurring toxic substances are inherently present in a wide variety of plants. Here are a few of them.

1)       Glycoalkaloids: This substance is alkaloid in nature and commonly found in Potatoes. This NOT acts as insecticide and fungicide. It is mainly present in bitter-tasting sprouts and peels. Glycoalkaloids present in potatoes are α-solanine and α-chaconine. Ingestion of glycoalkaloids containing potatoes may create various health problems like vomiting, nausea, gastrointestinal  diseases. Cooking can’t destroy glycoalkaloids. Peeling can reduce the amount of glycoalkaloids.

2)    Cucurbitacins: These are found in Cucurbitaceae family. These Naturally Occurring Toxic Substances are generally found in cucumber and zucchini. They are highly toxic in nature and not suitable for human consumption.  High concentration of cucurbitacins are found in roots. A small quality  of cucurbitacin scan be found in fruits. 

3)       Hydrogen cyanide: This substance is found in Bamboo shoots and Cassava. This substance is known as prussic acid. Hydrogen cyanide(HCN) is a colorless compound and found in bitter roots of cassava. This NOT is also found in cherries, apricots and bitter-almonds. They have pits which contain cyanohydrins such as mandelonitrile and amygdalin. They slowly release Hydrogen cyanide which may lead to cyanide poisoning.

Toxins of animal origin:

Natural Occurring toxic substances are inherently present in animals. Here are a few of them.Take a look.

Fish Oil: Naturally Occurring Toxic Substances in fish is the product of metabolites. When some fish oil are not metabolized by humans, create acute poisoning.Removal of skins and certain body parts can reduce this type of toxins.

Natural Occurring toxic substances can create acute and chronic health problems. FSSAI has specified the maximum limits of NOTS. Check out-

Article of food
Maximum limit
Agaric acid

   - Food containing mushrooms
   - Alcoholic beverages
100 ppm
Hydrocyanic acid
   -Nougat, marzipan or its substitutes or similar products
-    Canned stone fruits
-    Alcoholic beverages
-     Confectionery
-     Stone fruit juices
5 ppm
-    Alcoholic beverages
1 ppm
-     Meat preparations and meat products, including poultry and game
-   Fish preparations and fish products
-    Soups and sauces
-     Non-alcoholic beverages
-     Alcoholic beverages
-     Food containing mace and nutmeg
10 ppm

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