One of the dietary components in the New Nordic Diet, is plants from the wild countryside. However, these may have a high content of bioactive components, some of which could be toxic in larger quantities. The objective of this paper is to outline a strategy for safety evaluation of wild plants not covered in current food compositional databases and to apply the method for selected plants used in the New Nordic Diet recipes. Four examples of typical wild edible plants were evaluated (stinging nettle, sorrel, chickweed and common lambsquarters), and based on substantial equivalence with known food plants the majority of the bioactive components reported were within the range experienced when eating or drinking typical food stuffs. For most compounds the hazards could be evaluated as minor. The only precaution found was for common lambsquarters because of its presumed high level of oxalic acid. It is concluded that a substance-by-substance evaluation of intake by equivalence to common foods is a useful and efficient strategy to evaluate the safety of newly introduced wild edible plants. Further evaluation and better compositional analyses are warranted before a daily consumption of significant amounts of wild edible plants can be generally regarded as safe.
Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2012, Vol 50, Issue 12, p. 4461-4467