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Courgettes and a warning

(52 Posts)
BlueBelle Fri 10-Jul-20 12:40:27

I have just received a warning on my local fb gardening group that there have been some rogue courgette seeds sold by Fothergills that have caused tummy problems
Before you cook your home grown courgette taste it with your tongue if it gives off a bitter taste do not use it it could give you food poisoning
I thought this was worth passing on to any gardeners on here


EDIT from GNHQ: For more information here is a link to Fothergills' recall statement:

PamelaJ1 Fri 10-Jul-20 12:45:30

Thanks, ours seem OK, very delicious in fact.

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 12:54:18


I think ours are Fothergill's. We ate some last night, I ate a small one raw as well.
We haven't been very pleased with their seeds as most failed to germinate.

We have grown two cucumbers as well from Fothergill's seeds (out of a possible 10). Are they OK?

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 12:57:13

It looks as if this is not something new and not specific to Fothergill's seeds.

Who knew?
We eat a lot of courgettes in season. I have some good recipes which I've shared!

Fennel Fri 10-Jul-20 13:01:38

We used to grow courgettes, got them as seedlings from the gardening shop.
My favourite recipe was small courgettes stewed with onions and tomatoes but I had to stop eating this because I always had bad diarrhoea afterwards.
Is that what is meant?

ExD Fri 10-Jul-20 13:01:55

Off topic bit, but I'm getting fed up of packs of seed that don't germinate. I'm 80+ years old and have been gardening all my life and never remember having so many failures.
Back to topic, thank you for that tip re courgettes BlueBell, - I think mine are ok, well we had some in stew yesterday and we seem all right smile

merlotgran Fri 10-Jul-20 13:02:29

This happened to us years ago. We couldn't understand what had happened as the weather conditions were good and as we grow organically we assumed it was rogue seed.

I can't remember where we bought the seed.

Thanks for the info.

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 13:03:17

This was on the Facebook page of the Bottesford Garden Association:

Hello everyone and I am the social media manager for Mr Fothergill’s. As posted by Mark Carroll above, we have recently become aware of this issue with a small number of people being in touch with our Customer Services team about bitter courgettes. The variety involved is Courgette Zucchini with batch code I printed on the back of the packet next to the barcode. We have withdrawn all stocks of this seed immediately, recalled all stocks in garden centres and are currently contacting customers we know to have bought this variety by mail order.
We are very sorry to hear of the discomfort suffered by anyone who has an affected plant, though there seem to be only some rogue seeds amongst the batch, with some packets causing no problem at all. As pointed out in this thread already, it has likely resulted from an inadvertent cross-pollination in the plants that produced the seeds. We would urge anyone who has a packet of these seeds to get in contact with us by email on [email protected]
If you have grown a plant from these seeds, you can taste-test the fruits before consuming them by cutting them a licking the flesh. Affected fruits are extremely bitter and an indication you should destroy the plant. Please do not consume the fruits of any plants that have produced bitter tasting fruits.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.

I am going to check mine now, thank you Bluebelle

Is there any way that GNHQ can highlight your OP?

craftyone Fri 10-Jul-20 13:06:10

Mine were alexander from dt brown and have been lovely, I have eaten most raw so far. dt brown and fothergills are now the same company. Disappointed with dt brown this year, gone right downhill, used to be very good

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 13:13:12

Cucumbers also can contain Cucurbitacin which is toxic.

We haven't tried the cucumbers yet but will test them first!

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 13:17:19

I hope you don't mind, but I "Reported" your post to GNHQ, not because it should be deleted (heaven forbid) but that I think it is so important that it should be highlighted in some way.

Lots of us have grown vegetables from seed this year and this is very worrying.

Thank you.

BlueBelle Fri 10-Jul-20 14:05:34

No problem callistermon worried me when I read the first few words and thought oh no what have I said but of course its ok 😀
I picked my first courgette today very proudly then looked at the seed packet and of course yes it’s a packet of Mr Fothergills
So it’s definitely needs a tentative taste before cooking

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 14:27:44

Ours were from a different company but I'm worried about the cucumbers.
I think it is all companies, probably, as it happened in Germany too.

I'll never look at a slice of courgette cake with such enthusiasm again!

Chewbacca Fri 10-Jul-20 14:30:23

None of the courgette seeds that I sowed in late March have terminated, not a single one. Nor have the pepper seeds. They weren't all Fothergills, I seem to remember that some were Sutton's but in any event, they've been a total waste if money. Odd that so many have had the same experience this year.

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 14:40:31

It's strange and we have had a lot of failures this year.

But sunflowers which were 'use by 2018' have grown and the courgette seeds were from last year and grew.
The self-set nemesia are flowering.

merlotgran Fri 10-Jul-20 14:45:40

Our own French bean seeds from last year have done very well but bought seed failed to germinate despite a repeat sowing.

Other failures were, Spring Onions, and French Breakfast radishes.

GrannyLaine Fri 10-Jul-20 14:51:28

Thank you to BlueBelle and Callistemon for highlighting this

Callistemon Fri 10-Jul-20 14:56:13

I hadn't heard of this until Bluebelle started the thread, GrannyLaine.

We ate courgettes from the garden last evening and so far we're still ok!

Elegran Fri 10-Jul-20 15:03:40

It seems that " The variety involved is Courgette Zucchini with batch code I printed on the back of the packet next to the barcode. " so there shouldn't be any problems with any other varieties or batches.

craftyone Fri 10-Jul-20 15:15:03

BlueBelle Fri 10-Jul-20 15:18:31

Whereabouts is the 1 elegan I ve just looked at my packet and the start of the numbers which is slightly to the left of the barcode is a 5
Fingers crossed
I agree that some packets don’t seem to be as good as others shame isn’t it when you have such expectations

Elegran Fri 10-Jul-20 15:44:30

Bluebelle I was going by "Callistemon's* post at Fri 10-Jul-20 13:03:17, which was copied from Facebook page of the Bottesford Garden Association.

There is also a mention of it at Bee and Flower Gardening - "Bitter Courgettes? Mr Fothergills seeds? A rare, hybrid issue with one batch is causing stomach poisoning, Interesting article to share from Brighton allotment holders - poisonous courgette warning"

Nandalot Fri 10-Jul-20 15:57:16

Bluebelle, I also have a 5 next to the barcode on my Mr. fothergill’s zucchini courgettes. However, I have an H next to the date below the barcode. I wonder if that is the letter he means.
Anyway thanks for the heads up.

Elegran Fri 10-Jul-20 16:23:46

If he said "next to the barcode" then I would assume it is where the 5 is that he means, not next to the date under the barcode, where the H is.

sparklingsilver28 Fri 10-Jul-20 18:37:17

Dreadful germination results this year with "Black Seed Simpson" and Webb's Wonder lettuce and Breakfast Radishes. Out of two packs of lettuce seeds sown in April, May, finally about ten germinated midway through June. First pack of radish nothing - second pack has done better but still not great. Gave packs of same seeds to a friend and her results the same - poor germination.