CCC clarifies concerns around appearance of jimsonweed
By News release
Sept. 3, 2015 - Growers and agronomists are encouraged the keep an eye out for jimsonweed, however health concerns around potential toxicity in canola oil are unfounded.
"While jimsonweed itself can be poisonous, the heating process in canola oil and meal processing denatures toxic alkaloids, so there isn't a health concern in processed canola products," says Curtis Rempel, vice president of crop production and innovation at the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). "It's also important to remember that it's the dose that makes the poison, and the high LD50 of scopolamine, the major toxic alkaloid in jimsonweed, even further supports the fact that this weed isn't a concern in canola oil or meal."
Rempel notes that there are still legitimate health concerns upon ingestion of the actual jimsonweed plant or seeds themselves by humans or other animals as all parts of the plant contain the toxic alkaloids.
Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), also known as devil's trumpet, is a naturalized annual herb found across most of southern Canada. "It thrives in hot, dry climates and is a common ornamental in parts the prairies and Eastern Canada, and grows all over the U.S.," notes Rempel.
While it is currently listed as one of the 21 prohibited noxious weeds on the federal weed seeds order, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has proposed re-classification from prohibited to primary because it is already found in many parts of the country.
"According to provincial weed specialists in Alberta, as of September 1 this weed has been limited to three fields of canola and all of these growers are working with their provincial departments and the CFIA on an eradication strategy," says Rempel. Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) has also noted several sightings in the province and has sent samples to their lab for identification.
"We are currently focusing on fact gathering and analysis on the weed's prevalence and biology, and collaborating throughout the canola value chain to determine best management practices," says Rempel. "To help, we are asking growers and agronomists to continue to keep an eye out for this weed during harvest as early detection is an important step in management."
If jimsonweed is suspected, growers are advised to contact a provincial weed specialist or CCC agronomist to help with identification and discuss containment and eradication strategies.