Image copyright Rex Images Image caption This rescue work helped to stop food poisoning in Stoke-on-Trent
It’s easy to see why people call it the city that laughs in the face of taste, courtesy of its apple orchards and glorious malt beer.
These days people are laughing at a controversial nut that’s been found to make people violently ill.
Stoke-on-Trent has banned the dangerous plant Parsnip Liberty, after an outbreak of food poisoning in the city put an end to its sale on the high street, and put other plants out of business.
Five people died and many others got sick after eating food supplied by Eat Food Stores – the brainchild of an abbot from Stoke.
Food poisoning poisoning
Stoke has experienced a spike in food poisoning.
The Potters are notorious for selling unappetising looking vegetables alongside the high street.
The vegetarian Godfrey’s Organics website recommends “Preparing asparagus leaves, if available for that purpose”.
The ginger branch puts “cooking asparagus leaves” among its primary tips, but also has advice on “Rubbing leaves”.
Whatsapp The chemicals in Parsnip Liberty cause vomiting, diarrhoea and indigestion. People who eat it could be drenched in a puddle of vomit.
It isn’t just food that isn’t good for you.
The city’s West Pennine Park is the “fringe zone” of the poison.
There, the plant has caused a rash of incidents, in which people have been left vomiting and sometimes dying.
Last year, the city’s parks and local authorities issued half a million warnings to people in Stoke.
Whatsapp Asparagus leaves sold by Godfrey’s Organics
So it is little wonder that residents fought against the ban on Parsnip Liberty in February.
Chris Norman, a councillor, called the ban “totally unnecessary”.
“If you don’t like parsnip, you don’t have to eat it,” he said.
“It’s not really in there that much.”
In May, city councils commissioned a study into the use of the vegetable for medicinal purposes.
In a statement, a spokesman for the council said: “The activities at West Pennine Park are now under control, following a detailed review of the risks, which led to the change in terms of our vendors from Parsnip Liberty to ‘intact leafy vegetable’.”
Recognising that the “work done to protect public health is now complete”, organisers of the Love Cookies Bakeoff in Stoke-on-Trent later this month will use Parsnip Liberty in the competition’s last round.
The use of fruit and vegetables in demonstrations was banned in the wake of the food poisoning outbreak.
Image copyright Rex Features Image caption People used to mistake Parsnip Liberty for asparagus