General Question

2davidc8's avatar

Just how toxic are potato "eyes"?

Asked by 2davidc8 (7898points) October 1st, 2012

Sometimes I peel potatoes (sometimes I don’t, depending on what I’m making), but I’ve never purposely cut out the “eyes”. But recently I’ve read that they’re toxic and should be cut out before cooking. Just how toxic are they?

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11 Answers

BosM's avatar

Hello, 2davidc8, there was a similar question recently….

Here is my response and a link that will give you more information:

They contain a toxin called solanine which forms in the sprouts and green parts. “The Michigan State University’s Food Domain warns against eating potato eyes because they contain a high concentration of solanine.” Read more:

El_Cadejo's avatar

Its toxic but not really bad at all. If I recall correctly from culinary school you’d have to eat quite a large portion of just eyes for it to have any affect on your body. That said, they do taste pretty funky so I take them out.
I do love finding the occasional green potato chips though, I feel like they taste somehow better.

marinelife's avatar

“Solanine is indeed a poison in large doses, causing everything from gastrointestinal symptoms to hallucinations, paralysis and death. Large amounts are toxic, but the amounts usually found in food are innocuous. It is poorly absorbed and rapidly excreted. It is estimated that it would take 2–5mg per kilogram of body weight to produce toxic symptoms. A large potato weighs about 300g and has a solanine content of less than 0.2mg/gm That works out to around 0.03mg per kilogram for an adult, a hundredth of the toxic dose; I figure a murderous wife would have to feed something like 67 large potatoes to her husband in a single meal to poison him.”

Science-Based Medecine

gailcalled's avatar

Even if you boil or bake a potato with the eyes in, surely you wouldn’t eat it? It is a little, knotty, rooty, hard thing.

It is easy to pop the eyes out with the tip of a peeler or paring knife.

And I personally will not eat any skin that has green on it.

marinelife's avatar

@gailcalled I too was taught by my mother not to eat green-skinned potatoes, but I don’t know why.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^The solanine. As it is, we ingest enough toxins in our food and water supply; why not avoid what we can?

2davidc8's avatar

@gailcalled Yes, but each tuber has many such eyes. Do you go around popping out every one?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It isn’t the eyes, but the tubers exposure to sunlight that causes the toxins. The green is the toxic part. But it’s not very toxic.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
gailcalled's avatar

@2davidc8: Yes.


2davidc8's avatar

@BosM @marinelife Thanks for the links!

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