Aflatoxins are mycotoxins produced by two species of Aspergillus, a fungus which is especially found in tropical regions of the world. Aflatoxins were discovered in 1960, when 100,000 turkey poults died from eating fungus-infested peanut meal. Since Aspergillus flavus was incriminated as the causative agent and toxins could also be isolated, the toxins were subsequently termed as aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are produced most commonly in moist grains and nut products. These include groundnuts, treenuts, as well as maize, rice, figs and other dried foods, spices and crude vegetable oils, and cocoa beans, as a result of fungal contamination before and after harvest.
As per FSSAI Guidelines, for the safety of human beings, all Food Business Operators (FBOs) have to test their food products at various stages – while procurement, processing, and when the product is ready to be sold in the market. Therefore, in order to ensure the safety of consumers, the FBOs should check the limits of contaminants like aflatoxins in their food products.
Several types of aflatoxins are produced in nature. Currently, a total of 18 aflatoxins are known. The most important ones are B1, B2, G1, G2, M1 and M2. Aflatoxin B1 is the most common in food and amongst the most potent genotoxic and carcinogenic aflatoxins. It is produced both by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxins B1 and B2, after ingestion by lactating animals, are modified in the animal body to yield the aflatoxins M1 and M2. If cattle consume aflatoxin-contaminated feeds, these also can appear in milk and dairy products. The aflatoxins are potent liver carcinogens and can cause liver cancer, the chances of which are increased 30-fold if the person had prior Hepatitis B infection.
Ultimately, the critical concern is the amounts of aflatoxins that are ingested. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been working on harmonization with the international bodies like EU and CODEX and has defined the maximum limits of aflatoxins in food- stuffs for ensuring safe food to the people. The Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulation, 2011 stipulate that the safety limit for aflatoxin in all foods-stuffs should not be more than 30 µg/kg, while that for aflatoxin M1 in milk, not more than 0.5 µg/kg.
Our state-of-the-art facilities provide fast and accurate screening to detect, identify, and quantify the presence of aflatoxins in food. To protect their business and minimize the risk of negative health impacts, our testing helps the FBOs to maintain recommended standards for the control of harmful aflatoxin levels in food products. Importantly, our food testing lab has been identified among the top 5 national level labs in India and is accredited by NABL and approved by FSSAI for testing of food.
Please contact us today using the quick query form on the right or by calling us now on +91-11-45754575 to get your food samples tested for Aflatoxins.