I purchased locally grown rye. Recently, I opened by bag of rye to discover many enlarged, purplish kernels. It turns out that this is ergot of rye. Ergot, when consumed by people can have severe health consequences. I have no way of knowing who else purchased rye in this way, hence this public letter to warn other people about ergot contamination.
Wikipedia mentions that “Ergotism is the name for sometimes severe pathological syndromes affecting humans or other animals that have ingested plant material containing ergot alkaloid, such as ergot-contaminated grains.” Symptoms include such things as severe burning sensations in the limbs, sometimes leading to gangrene and loss of limbs due to severely restricted blood circulation. Also, “the neurotropic activities of the ergot alkaloids may also cause hallucinations and attendant irrational behaviour, convulsions, and even death. Other symptoms include strong uterine contractions, nausea, seizures, and unconsciousness.”
I encourage people to spread the word about the potential ergot contamination.