Most potatoes are given a chemical anti-germination treatment to stop them sprouting before we eat them.

With crispy potato skins and baked potatoes seen as a luxury, I wondered what research has been done on the health risks of eating potato skins and what government health advice says about this.

Obviously potatoes need to be washed first, to clean them and to remove residues of treatment. Should they be soaked first? I also realise that potatoes are safer when peeled.

Being told to wash, soak or peel potatoes makes me want to see hard research data or analysis on the food-safety of chemical anti-germination treatments for potatoes. Which is why I see this more as a biology question - where I originally entered this question - than a cooking one.

UPDATE I recently bought a bag of small potatoes which are promoted as "ready to cook in a microwave oven", though marked "With anti-germination treatment". The potatoes are in their skins, in a transparent bag which looks like cellophane. As the instructions on the bag do not mention washing the potatoes, I looked at the supplier's cooking instructions and was amazed that the video says "No need to peel them. They are ready to eat!" This seems to go against all logic.

No need to peel. Ready to eat!

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    have a look at this link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11540-010-9155-0 maybe it can help you
    – blu potatos
    Jan 1, 2017 at 20:53
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    Is "just get organic potatoes when you know you want to make that kind of dish" acceptable? :) They certainly germinate like billy-o if stored wrongly :) Jul 16, 2017 at 20:13
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    Leave a potato on your counter long enough, and I have yet to see one not sprout.
    – SnakeDoc
    Aug 14, 2017 at 17:25
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    It kind depends on what kind of treatment it is. If it's radiation treatment then it'll be fine because it doesn't leave any residue. If it's chemical it's probably OK because FDA or USDA (or similar agencies) wouldn't assume potato are always peeled, so any FDA or USDA cleared treatment method would be fine or at least a warning message would be on the package(like one you see with meat and eggs "consumed raw is risky") Nov 12, 2017 at 21:17
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    In Your Food: The Chemical Treatment of Potatoes to Inhibit Eye Growth: decodedscience.org/… Patent on a mix of 3-chlorophenylisopropylcarbamate (CIPC) and a component selected from the group consisting of clove oil and eugenol: google.com/patents/US8207090 As a chemist, these are not compounds I'd eat by the gram. However, we're probably talking ppm here. MSDS on CIPC, suggests not terribly toxic when eaten, but not totally innocent either: 14group.com/fileadmin/PDF/English_MSDS/CIPC_MSDS.pdf - Your call. Nov 14, 2017 at 0:22

1 Answer 1


The toxic stuff enters not only the skin, but even to 1 mm flesh. Washing the potatoes is useless. So, always peel your potato

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    Please back this up with a link. Where possible, answers on SE sites should show that they are more than opinions.
    – user34961
    Jul 16, 2017 at 8:01

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