Native Plants – Food Safety

Some plants are known to be naturally poisonous, such as green potatoes and some mushroom fungi. Some native plants are also poisonous including the fruit of some Solanum and Dianella species, bracken fern tips and at least two Acacia species.

Some require processing or cooking to be safe.

Others are tolerated in small amounts but cause adverse reactions in large amounts (unripe fruits).

It is important to know the identity of the plants you are using as food and that the plant is safe.

There are a range of books and references on the safety of native plant foods.

Some plants are prohibited for food use by the FSANZ Standard 1.4.4. These include some Solanum species (nightshade, kangaroo apple), Pteridium (bracken fern) and Melia azedarach (white cedar).

If in doubt about its safety, don’t use the plant as food!


Robert Premier

John Faragher

Food safety for native plant foods
Download 244kb

What you need to do about food safety :

  • Find out as much as you can about what is required of you and what you can do.
  • Talk to the local Council Environmental Health Officer
  • Talk to your buyers
  • Register as a food business if necessary – with your local council
  • Attend a training course to obtain the required skills and knowledge
  • Develop a food safety program (required of food businesses in Victoria)
  • Join a commercial food safety scheme if necessary
  • Promote your food as safe!

^ Back to top