Public Health England has issued a letter to supermarkets saying that daffodils should not be in the fruits and vegetables aisles, so people don’t think they are food and actually eat them.
According to the Daily Express, the letter notes that daffodils have often been confused for garlic chives, which are used in Chinese recipes. And if people eat the daffodils, there can be some pretty serious side effects.
Last year saw 27 cases in which the National Poisons Information Service received calls about daffodil poisoning. And there have been 63 cases in the past six years of people getting sick after they eat daffodils. As BBC News reports, daffodils contain a toxin that induces vomiting if people eat them.
Professor Paul Cosford, the director for health protection at Public Health England, has now written a letter to supermarkets to explain the dangers of eating daffodils.
“Daffodils are dangerous if eaten and poisoning can occur as a result. We are aware of an incident in Bristol a few years ago in which some shoppers, for whom English was not their first language, bought daffodils and cooked the plants believing them to be something else.”
In an effort to lower the number of cases, Cosford is advising supermarkets to have the daffodils on display in other sections, so people don’t confuse them for food.
“We are asking stores to ensure daffodils, both the bulbs from which they sprout and the cut variety too, are displayed well away from the produce or fruit and vegetable area. Such a move will, we hope, produce a separation in shoppers’ minds that will help to stop them thinking daffodils are edible.”
But some have been critical of Cosford’s letter, such as Wales’ Ukip MEP Nathan Gill.
“[This is] the dreaded hand of state interference. We would hope all Welsh consumers are rightly annoyed our national flower is buried away from sight like a pack of cigarettes due to ridiculous health and safety rules.”
Daily Express columnist Ann Widdecombe was also critical of Cosford wanting daffodils to be stored somewhere else.
“This country is supposed to be in austerity so I think we could start to save a bit of money on this sort of rubbish. Do they honestly think the public doesn’t have any common sense? Do they think Britons have never seen daffodils before?”
Even people on Twitter have chimed in on the notice to not eat daffodils.
Britain once ruled the seas & built an Empire – now the shops have to move the daffodils away from the fruit & veg so people don’t eat them
— tom jamieson (@jamiesont) February 7, 2015
People who eat daffodils don’t appear to know their onions.
— Dave (@LilyThePurr) February 8, 2015
If people don’t realise you shouldn’t eat daffodils then they deserve to get sick
— Noorin Rodenhurst (@noorinrod) February 8, 2015
Do you think stores should separate daffodils from fruits and vegetables so people don’t accidentally eat them?[Image via Twitter]