2017, Food safety -

Aflatoxin in Peanuts

Q: You didn’t point out aflatoxin in your latest article on peanuts. Ought to I be involved?

A: No. Peanuts offered within the U.S. aren’t thought of an issue. Nonetheless, it’s best to maintain them in a cool, dry place and keep away from any which might be moldy, shriveled or discolored.

Produced by the mildew Aspergillus flavus, aflatoxin can happen in nuts, legumes, seeds, corn, wheat and different crops, in addition to some spices, resembling chili and paprika. Excessive warmth and drought earlier than harvest, in addition to moist, humid storage circumstances, improve susceptibility. This naturally occurring toxin may cause critical liver injury in people and is a liver carcinogen, no less than in some lab animals.

Aspergillus is widespread in nature, present in soil, hay and decaying vegetation. However farmers and meals processors reduce its progress by following good administration practices. Furthermore, the US Division of Agriculature (USDA) screens crops for aflatoxin, whereas the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely samples peanut merchandise to verify they don’t exceed most allowable ranges.

Although some consultants are involved about continual low-level publicity to aflatoxin, the small quantities generally consumed within the U.S. pose little threat, in accordance with the FDA. Aflatoxin is a much bigger menace in growing international locations, resembling Kenya, the place outbreaks of acute poisoning (aflatoxicosis) have occurred and the place excessive intakes of aflatoxin have been linked to liver most cancers. There have been no reported circumstances of aflatoxicosis within the U.S.

By the best way, preliminary analysis from Johns Hopkins College suggests chlorophyll compound in inexperienced greens like spinach could inhibit aflatoxin’s carcinogenic results. So could phytochemicals in celery, carrots, parsnips and associated greens, in accordance with a examine printed in Meals and Chemical Toxicology.