Can green potato chips make you sick?
November 13, 2019 5:34PM
Technically, yes, but you’d have to eat such a large amount of them that it’s not worth worrying about.
First, let’s understand why parts of potatoes turn green. Potatoes, for the most part, are grown underground, but occasionally, a small part might be exposed to sunlight. Those exposed parts turn green as chlorophyll begins to form. Although most of these colorful outliers don’t make it onto the grocery store shelves, the occasional green potato might go overlooked, and this is why you might see a slice in one of your snack bags.
In terms of safety, chlorophyll is both tasteless and nontoxic. However, as a potato turns green, conditions are right for it to synthesize a glycoalkaloid poison called solanine, which potatoes produce to defend against insects and predators. Ingesting large amounts of solanine can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and a slew of other unpleasant symptoms—including death. The good news is that those toxic levels would equate to eating several pounds of green potatoes.
Long story short, the moderate solanine formation in one or two errant potato chips is not enough to do any harm.