Jamaica’s national dish Ackee, a ‘fruit’ or ‘call of death?’

Jamaica's national dish 'Ackee' is killing several people in Jamaica. Even then, people are continuing to consume

Jamaica's national dish Ackee, a 'fruit' or 'call of death?'
Jamaica's national dish Ackee, a 'fruit' or 'call of death?'

Jamaica: Humans survive because of food, but what if people are dying by eating a particular eatable. Jamaica’s national dish ‘Ackee’ is killing several people in Jamaica. Even then, people are continuing to consume Ackee.

A famous chef shared a photo of an Ackee dish with rice. Various followers commented fascinating compliments, but one resident stated, “And 10.00 US or more for a can here in the States ..and my friend brother just died after cooking some ackee he bought ..he started throwing up then made some ginger tea called out from work and died in his house, they found him days after.”

Jamaica's national dish 'Ackee'
Jamaica’s national dish ‘Ackee’

This is not just the case; in the year 2011, 320 people died by eating Ackee. The stats were taken from the Ministry of Health, Epidemiology, Research and Data Analysis.

Year Number of Cases

2003 -2












When examined by age, most of the cases of poisoning and most maximum cases of death, 68 percent & 72 percent, sequentially, occurred in individuals ranging from 15 to 54 years old in 2011. The most recent data available (2013) had individuals ranging in age from 17 to 70 years old.

According to a reputed magazine, ackee fruit is a mixed blessing in Jamaica. Though native to West Africa, it moved to Jamaica in 1778 and is now the nation’s national fruit. 

They have confirmed, If inappropriately eaten, though, Ackee can create what has been denominated the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness — which, other than the self-explanatory signs, can commence to coma or death. 

Ackee dish
Ackee dish

Unripe ackee fruit carries a poison called hypoglycin, so preparers need to be careful to wait continuously until the fruit’s protective pods turn red and open naturally. Once available, the only edible division is the yellow arilli, which encompass always-toxic black seeds. With all that hazard comes to a delicious payoff — Jamaica’s nationwide dish is Ackee with codfish.

Case Report on Ackee fruit

A 9-year-old girl performed with lethargy and modified consciousness of 21 hours duration. Her signs had started 2 hours after intake of six roasted seeds and arils of the ackee fruit. 

Impairment of consciousness was scouted by vomiting and extreme body weakness. She was taken to a private hospital wherever she was restored with intravenous fluids (normal saline) and had an irregular blood-sugar (RBS) done, which held 2.5 mmol/L. 

She consequently presented at the EPU 23 hours after intake, tired with a Glasgow Coma Score of 9. She had constant monitoring of vital signs and was released on the sixth day of confirmation after full recovery.

Seven different children, siblings of the index case, had the ackee fruits. Two of the children had six & four roasted ackee seeds. However, These patients fully recovered.

But the question is should people continue to eat Ackee? Doctors suggests that it is dangerous to consume it.