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Undercooked beans can be toxic


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#1 PureCajunSunshine

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 04:55 PM

I am putting this heads-up post here, instead of the kitchen forum because beans are in just about everyone's preps.

Dried Kidney beans (and other beans) that are not thoroughly cooked can cause poisoning, enough to make you feel sick as a dog.

Hat-tip to Science Teacher (at CurEvents), and to Edna Mode (at PFI) for this link: FDA/CFSA http://www.cfsan.fda...mow/chap43.html

The toxin is called: "Phytohaemagglutinin"



"The onset time from consumption of raw or undercooked kidney beans to symptoms varies from between 1 to 3 hours. Onset is usually marked by extreme nausea, followed by vomiting, which may be very severe. Diarrhea develops somewhat later (from one to a few hours), and some persons report abdominal pain. Some persons have been hospitalized, but recovery is usually rapid (3 - 4 h after onset of symptoms) and spontaneous." snip

AT Hagan, on that thread said: "Most of the common beans are Phaseolus vulgaris so they all contain varying levels of this compound.... Virtually all legume seeds contain various compounds that are anti-nutritional which is why they must be cooked before eating them...."


http://www.cfsan.fda...mow/chap43.html

5. Associated Foods: Phytohaemagglutinin, the presumed toxic agent, is found in many species of beans, but it is in highest concentration in red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The unit of toxin measure is the hemagglutinating unit (hau). Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 hau, while fully cooked beans contain from 200 to 400 hau. White kidney beans, another variety of Phaseolus vulgaris, contain about one-third the amount of toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% the amount that red kidney beans contain.

The syndrome is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans, either alone or in salads or casseroles. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms. Several outbreaks have been associated with "slow cookers" or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80°C (176 degrees F.) may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75°C.

6. Relative Frequency of Disease: This syndrome has occurred in the United Kingdom with some regularity. Seven outbreaks occurred in the U.K. between 1976 and 1979 and were reviewed (Noah et al. 1980. Br. Med. J. 19 July, 236-7). Two more incidents were reported by Public Health Laboratory Services (PHLS), Colindale, U.K. in the summer of 1988. Reports of this syndrome in the United States are anecdotal and have not been formally published.

AT Hagan also said, in response to another poster who was concerned about the sometimes kinda crunchy commercially canned beans:

"Canned beans have been cooked well over 176 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook your beans until they are not crunchy and you'll be fine.

Other than relatively small amounts of bean sprouts (usually not made with P. vulgaris varieties) don't eat raw legumes. They need to be cooked."


Another poster, Summerthyme pointed out that this temperature issue with the beans "...might be a bigger issue with people grinding dry beans for "bean flour" and then using it as a thickener in various dishes, possibly without thorough cooking..."

Here's the link to that thread: http://www.curevents.com/vb/showthread.php?t=81726

BTW, the archives to their prep room, and the flu prep room are wellsprings of info...

To see prep threads that go all the way back to the beginning of CurEvents, go the the Prep Room, scroll to the bottom of the page. See:

Display Options
Sorted by: Last Post Time
From the: (pull-down menu, select "Beginning")
Sort Order: Descending

click on button: "Show Threads".



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#2 mommato3boys

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:11 PM

Oh great now we are going to have a stupid warning label on the dry bean bag...

Well Duh...whose the idiot that ate raw beans. Anybody with a half of a brain knows you dont' eat raw dry beans you will blow up a like a balloon and have a horrible tummy ache and a sore backside side cause those beans have to some out some how.

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#3 PureCajunSunshine

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:23 PM

I posted this in case someone down the road, in an austere situation, with limited cooking fuel, might be tempted--out of desperation--to eat slightly undercooked beans to save on fuel, or something like that.
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#4 mommato3boys

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:28 PM

Originally Posted By: PureCajunSunshine
I posted this in case someone down the road, in an austere situation, with limited cooking fuel, might be tempted--out of desperation--to eat slightly undercooked beans to save on fuel, or something like that.


I know why you posted it. But there was a study done and they gave the condition a name. So that tells me that some body some where ate raw beans. I worked at a reserach hospital and in order to do research most people have to have grants and in order to get grants you have to have a case study ie someone was admitted to the hospital with horrible stomach pains and was not cause from the normal stuff. So some body got the bright idea to study the effects of dried beans on the human digestive system and probably made big bucks off of that study too.
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#5 Violet

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 05:32 PM

Good information. Thanks for the post ! I found it interesting.

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#6 Abigail

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 10:33 AM

Does anyone know just how much beans must be cooked to avoid the toxicity? I HATED beans for years (yeah, even living in Cajun country) because I can't stand that "creamy" consistency everyone else seems to like...seems "gritty" to me...

I like beans MUCH better when they are cooked but still somewhat firm...I haven't noticed any digestive symptoms like those you describe, but this has me wondering none the less.

Are there specific cooking times that are recommended?

Also, I got a big jar of "bean salad" from Sam's club that I really liked...it had green, wax, kidney, and I think garbanzos seasoned with spices and red onions. Beans were quite "firm" in texture. I'm now wondering if they were canned "raw" and the canning process "cooked" them to this quite firm consistency...am I making sense here???

Just making sure this is not a bad idea to eat beans of firmer texture...
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#7 Leah

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 11:30 AM

Abigail, raw beans taste completely different from the taste of cooked ones. Can you mash one between 2 spoons? If you can they are cooked, it's not necessary for them to be mush.
When you cook them, get them to the consistancy you like and try the 'mash test'. Rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking, and you should have that nice firm texture you like. (My MIL is from Boston - they know beans!)
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#8 anrol5

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 02:17 PM

mommato3boys
I seriously doubt anyone has done any studies on the effect of undercooked beans. Doctors have known about, the effects of incorrectly cooked beans, for decades.

Back in the 70’s, there was a cookery program, at prime time, on one of the 3(yes three) TV channels. My kids don’t understand that when I was their age, that I had only two TV channels, to chose from, And they were broadcast in Black and White, for a few hours in the evening!
Anyway getting back to this cookery program. It had exciting recipes, like curry, and exotic dishes like Chilli con Carne. People rushed out and bought the book in droves. People raced out and bought the strange new ingredients, like chilli powder, and Red Kidney beans, and followed the recipe............And got very sick. Accident and Emergency Departments(Emergency Rooms for the Americans), began filling up. Why?
If you followed this cook’s recipe *EXACTLY* right down to the correct kind of pan, you were OK, but people made the chilli can carne, and bunged it in any old pan and put the dish in the oven, for long, slow cooking, read low temperature cooking. The beans were soft, but as the wrong sort of pan was used, the temperature in the pan, never got high enough, for long enough, to destroy the toxin.
It was a big thing back then. Lots of people, got sick through eating incorrectly cooked red kidney beans. So, as a result of this incident (1976-79 era), instructions were given out, that *all* soaked beans should be put in a saucepan of water, and bought to a rapid boil. The beans should be cooked for 10 mins at a rolling boil, to destroy the toxin. The beans at this point are not soft, but a sufficiently large amount of the toxin has been destroyed, so that they are now safe to eat. You can then cook the beans, in any way you chose, including at a low temperature for a long time, and you won’t get sick.
The reason that the instructions were given for *all* beans, was because most people, me included, have trouble remembering, which beans require heat treatment, and which don’t. So if you treat *all* beans as potentially harmful, and heat treat them all, you shouldn’t get sick.

The thing I find interesting about this article is the line
---It has been shown that heating to 80°C (176 degrees F.) may potentiate the toxicity five-fold. so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw.---
I would be surprised, if anyone took raw beans, ground them and mixed them with water and ate them, but I suspect, that some people take soaked beans, and cook them on low in a slow cooker, *without* boiling the beans first. And, yet, this practice, might mean, that the slow cooked beans are up to 5 times as toxic as raw bean porridge.
So I think this post is beneficial in reminding people to fiercely boil beans for 10 mins to destroy the toxin.
Anrol


#9 westbrook

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 03:28 AM

Anrol...

great information!!! thanks!




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#10 Abigail

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:10 AM

Thanks everyone!! Never heard the warnings about slow cooking the soaked ones being potentially harmful...and I've
DONE that!!!EEK!! I think I dodged the bullet because I usually cook on "high" in my slow cooker for quite awhile, and they do reach the boiling point...I can see why it may be a problem if ppl use "low" or "simmer" settings...

Seems the newer crock pots are higher temps than the old ones; I always was a little annoyed at this, but maybe this is why they did it...

Good to know! Thanks!
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#11 Vic303

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:23 PM

Hmm never heard that one. My slowcooker crockpot even boils stuff on low.

#12 Leah

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 12:51 PM

I do the 'quick soak' method.
Pour enough boiling water to cover the beans, let soak for 1 hour, pour off. Repeat. After second soaking, replace with clean, cold water and boil for an hour with your spices (or however long until you like the texture and they are done). Use the mash test to see if they are cooked - take 2 spoons that nestle inside each other, place a bean between and smush.
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#13 Leah

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:19 AM

I found this on cooking beans... http://www.weblife.org/beanchart.html
Bean Cooking Chart



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#14 Snowmom

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:34 AM



I either soak them for a couple hours or just cook them longer, but I will sometimes do like Leah does.
Quote:
take 2 spoons that nestle inside each other, place a bean between and smush.


Otherwise, I cook them for at least 3 hours and they are done. smile



#15 John & Joan of Ark

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:54 PM

I learn something new every day. So I can't take the old dry beans, grind them and use them without cooking- but will turning the bean flour into "refried beans" will that be cooking them enough? What about using the bean flour for baking purposes. I know one woman who uses bean flour in lots of her cooking products.

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#16 PureCajunSunshine

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:09 PM

It is understood that cooking beans (in whatever form) over 176 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the toxin. (Not UP to 176 degrees, but OVER that point.) Any lower, then expect some degree of problems. A safe bet, is to cook the beans at a rolling boil for a minimum of ten minutes first, to destroy the toxin, then the heat can be turned down to finish cooking the beans.

If I were baking with the raw flour, I would probably not worry, because most stuff is baked at temperatures well over 176 degrees fahrenheit.
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#17 DoubleD

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:41 PM

Well, I think I am in good shape... I have taken to pressure canning my beans so that they are precooked and ready to use in recipes. The pressure canning cooks them to a perfect tenderness, they are tasty, and they are very convenient to have on hand.

Now I also know that they are properly cooked to remove the toxicity problems as well.

We had home canned kidney beans for dinner tonight in fact - "mean red kidney bean hash!!"

#18 Becca_Anne

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 02:20 PM

Thank you for posting this! I had never heard this before. I have never been able to successfully cook beans. I know that is strange but they never get soft for me even when I've soaked them overnight. I am bean challenged. At least I now know not to cook them on low heat in the crockpot.

#19 PureCajunSunshine

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:53 PM

Becca...

Maybe your beans are a liitle too old, as in sitting on the shelf too long?

To cook old beans, I usually let them sit overnight (or at least 6 hours) in cool water. Then I drain the liquid, add more fresh water to cover, and then I'll add a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the water. If the beans are especially old, in addition to the above steps, I usually bring the beans to a boil for at least ten or fifteen minutes, then turn off heat. Let sit for about an hour, then commence cooking them in the normal way. Saves on fuel, f'sure.

If you'd like to try a traditional New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe, click onto my blogspot link below. 'tis good, I guarantee.
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October 29, 2009: I just discovered that my email accounts have been hijacked by a virus...

If anyone gets any emails from me, please delete them. Do not open them. (They will not have been sent by me.)

If my email is hijacked, then possibly my forum accounts and my blog may be also... I am not sure oif this but to be safe, I thought I'd notify everyone of this possibility. If you visit my site, make sure you are running a good antivirus program that is uptodate. I am currently working with blogspot, etc. etc. on this.

pssst... Norton sucks a bag of lemons.





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#20 Becca_Anne

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 01:05 PM

Thanks PureCajunSunshine smile I'll check it out.



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