Highland Council Trading Standards warn of potentially dangerous bracelets

The Highland Council’s Trading Standards is warning of potentially dangerous bracelets that have been sold in the Highlands which may contain deadly plant seeds. 

The bracelets are made up of distinctive red and black beans from the “abrus precatorious” plants that are strung together with fine cord.  The seeds found inside these beans contain the toxin abrin that, if swallowed, can have fatal consequences.  Abrin is chemically similar to ricin.

The beans are generally thought to be safe if the seeds are not exposed, however test results recently obtained by Trading Standards indicate that because the beans have been pierced to allow for the bracelet cord to be threaded through, the toxin would be available rendering them extremely toxic to humans or animals if accidentally consumed.

The importer, Rainstick Trading of Saxmundham in Suffolk, issued a recall, after supplying shops throughout the country including three retailers in the Highlands.

Gordon Robb, Highland Council’s Trading Standards Manager said:  “We contacted the three Highland retailers known to have been supplied by the importer to ensure all stocks of the bracelets were removed from sale and customer recall notices displayed in the shops, until test results were obtained.  However, now we are fully aware of the hazards they represent we are concerned that some consumers may have these products at home, perhaps bought from shops or websites based outside the Highlands, and we want to warn them of the risks these pose.”

Abrus precatorius has been given many names including Jequirity, Crab's Eye, Rosary Pea, John Crow Bead, Precatory bean, Indian Liquorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie Bead.  The plant grows in tropical and subtropical areas and the recalled bracelets were imported from Indonesia.

Trading Standards are urging consumers who have bracelets that they suspect are made from these beans to cease wearing them and contact Trading Standards immediately at the address below.   Any retailers who have stocks of these bracelets, and who have not already been contacted by Trading Standards, should immediately remove them from sale and notify The Highland Council’s  Trading Standards at 38 Harbour Road, Inverness, IV1 1UF, telephone 0845 600 4222, email trading.standards@highland.gov.uk.

24 Apr 2012