M&S: Store Sorry for Displaying Poisonous Daffodils Alongside Veg


By Sean Seddon, BBC News

Marks & Spencer has apologised after displaying daffodils alongside spring onions in one of its stores.

The flowers, which can be poisonous if eaten, were displayed in the fruit and veg aisle under a “seasonal favourites” banner.

Botanist and presenter James Wong drew attention to the display on Twitter, warning that eating daffodils “is like swallowing a box of tiny needles”.

An M&S spokesperson said it was a “genuine error in one of our stores”.

Daffodil stems, which are widely sold in supermarkets at this time of year, can bear a resemblance to some vegetables at first glance.

Public Health England wrote to retailers in 2015 warning about the potentially nasty consequences if there was a mix-up with how they are labelled.

It said they contain toxic alkaloids which can cause severe vomiting, noting 27 poisoning cases in the previous year.

Health officials believe daffodil poisoning led to 10 hospitalisations in Bristol in 2012 because of their similarity to a chive used in Chinese cooking.

Mr Wong said the error was originally spotted by his mum, who took a picture of the display.

He said the poisoning caused by accidentally eating them can be “excruciating” and urged M&S to improve training for staff.

Responding to him on Twitter, an M&S spokesperson said: “We have contacted the store and the signage has been updated and onions moved.

“As a precaution we’re reminding all stores to make sure the flowers are displayed properly”, they added.

“Customer safety is our priority and all daffodils have an on-pack warning that they are not safe to consume.”