Food Standards Agency

Can you eat potatoes when they go green and start to sprout?

If potatoes have sprouted, simply remove the sprouts before use. Remember to cut off any green or rotten bits before using.

Green bits on potatoes can contain high levels of natural toxins called glycoalkaloids which are usually found in potatoes at low levels, but they can be higher in:

  • green parts
  • damaged parts
  • sprouted parts

High levels of glycoalkaloids can upset the digestive system and cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. However, glycoalkaloid poisoning is extremely rare, even though potatoes are eaten in very large amounts in many countries.

To avoid high levels of glycoalkaloids being produced in potatoes, store them in a cool, dark and dry place.

Can potatoes be frozen?

You can freeze cooked or parboiled potatoes which have been boiled for 5 minutes. Leftover cooked potatoes can also be frozen. You can roast boiled potatoes straight from the freezer, make sure they are steaming hot all the way through. Put them in the oven with a little oil to crisp up. 

Can you store potatoes in the fridge?

Yes, if you wish to help avoid food waste, you can choose to store potatoes either in the fridge or in a cool, dark, dry place.

A recent study, which has been reviewed by the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), has shown that home storage of potatoes in the fridge doesn’t materially increase acrylamide forming sugars, known as cold sweetening, when compared to storage in a cool, dark place. 

How long can you eat vegetables after their best before date?

Vegetables past their best before date may become wrinkly or mushy, but are safe to eat as long as there is no visible sign of decay. Make sure to check for rotting or mould before eating.

The best before date is about quality, not safety. Food will be safe to eat after the best before date but may not be at its best. The length of time vegetables are acceptable to eat after a best before date can depend on the product and the storage instructions.

Are raw kidney beans poisonous?

Canned beans purchased in the supermarket are safe to consume as they have been pre-soaked and boiled to kill any toxins present.

Raw or undercooked beans especially red kidney beans can be risky. This is because they naturally contain a type of lectin that can produce toxic effects. You should not slow cook raw red kidney beans as it does not destroy the toxin and may increase its toxicity.

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