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FDA banned bean in restaurant's dessert

UPI News Service, 12/20/2006 

A dessert containing tiny amounts of a substance regarded as dangerous by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is served in a New York eatery, a report says.

Tonka beans from South America have a vanilla-almond flavor, and are used at Varietal restaurant, the New York Post said Wednesday. They also are on the FDA's list of "Substances Prohibited From Use in Human Food" because they contain coumarin, a chemical that can cause liver damage when consumed in large quantities, the Post said.

Food containing any coumarin is considered adulterated, according to the FDA.

At Varietal, the beans are part of a dessert of wolfberries, lime sabayon, broken macaroons and the Indonesian sauce ketjap manis.

Terra Spice Co., Walkerton, Ind., sells the beans to the restaurant. The retailer's general manager said that although coumarin is "banned for commercial use, the amounts chefs use on dessert is harmless."

The manager said Terra Spice sells tonka beans to 300 customers worldwide.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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