Sprouted potatoes and poisoning

Sprouted potatoes and poisoning

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


It is appropriate to make a premise and to give some explanations on an important element that is contained in the peel of the potato: the solanine. It has the task of protecting the tuber from fungi and parasites that could affect it. This alkaloid works like this: solanine increases if potatoes are not stored properly and leads the vegetable to sprout sooner. This element, being at the level of the skin, 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 too green potatoes should not be consumed.

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

The Bfr reports other symptoms that are more rare, such as loss of consciousness, breathing problems or cardiovascular disorders.

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

He also wrote a handbook for the consumer on how to store potatoes to minimize the risk of intoxication.

The potatoes should be stored in a cool and dry place, preferably in the dark and not consumed if they have buds, are old, green or withered.

It is also necessary to eliminate the “eyes” formed on the tuber and avoid eating them with the skin or prefer fresh, organic potatoes in perfect condition.

A further indication is to consume dishes whose taste of the potato is bitter and not reuse for food purposes the cooking water. If fried you need, needless to say change the oil often.


A useful advice to follow is to avoid that the potatoes sprout keeping it as far as possible away from light sources.