Aflatoxin; How to Avoid Aflatoxins in Food?

Aflatoxins are chemical substances that have toxic effects on the human body. These are carcinogens or mutagens released by a certain group of fungi. The fungi family of the crops usually produces these. These are fungal spores that infect the crops, both at the time of harvesting and crop storage. The fungus involved in the production of Aflatoxins is Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus.

How does Aflatoxin spread?

Aflatoxin is mostly found in corn, maize, peanuts, cotton seeds, and tree nuts. Many other staple crops, such as wheat crops, rice, grains, sweetcorn, millets, chili peppers, and sunflower seeds, have been reported to have frequent contamination with Aflatoxin. These plants or crops are mostly grown in the tropical or subtropical regions of the world, where the weather is usually humid. This is why Aflatoxin-causing diseases are more widely found in warm places.

The spread of Aflatoxins has unfortunately also reached the foods of humans and pets and poultry. The farms that feed animals and particularly hens, on Aflatoxin-contaminated food, have chances of spreading the fungal infection in humans. This is because the fungus is passed from the poultry feed into the eggs, meat, and milk products. Eating a lot of peanuts has also increased the incidence of Aflatoxin infection. Sometimes, the farms’ dust and feed are directly contaminated with Aflatoxins. Simply inhaling these toxic substances leads to the sickness of farmers and handling personnel.

Written by Martin Davis