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Aflatoxin Analysis: An Essential for Food Safety

Food safety – this is a major concern for consumers and manufacturers. For buyers, it is paramount to make sure that they are buying and consuming only foods that will not pose a serious threat to their health. For sellers and producers, on the other hand, it is paramount to ensure that they are providing the public with foods that are devoid of harmful chemicals, such as in the case of aflatoxin. The World Health Organisation has classified the latter as being carcinogenic and it has been asserted to be toxic in more ways than one. To know more about what is aflatoxin, keep on reading and we’ll provide you with some valuable insights.

What Is Aflatoxin
It is a toxic, carcinogenic compound and is secondary metabolites that result from two fungal species: Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. The accurate determination, through aflatoxin analysis, is important to determine their presence and to make sure that they won’t lead to adverse health effects, including those that will be mentioned in the rest of this post. It commonly contaminates agricultural products, and its risks will not only be apparent in humans but even in livestock.

How Is Aflatoxin Analysis Conducted
The presence of aflatoxin in food sources can be completed through laboratory testing and with the use of state-of-the-art equipment. It is commonly detected through thin layer chromatography and liquid chromatography. Fluorescence detection is another common process that can be executed for aflatoxin analysis. It should be done in a controlled environment and should be conducted only by professionals who can interpret the results appropriately.

The Dangers of Aflatoxin
As has been noted, aflatoxin is carcinogenic. Therefore, cancer is its major threat to both humans and animals. At its high level, it will affect mostly the liver, but it can also show significant damages to other organs of the body, such as the lungs, heart, brain, and kidney. It can result in acute necrosis and cirrhosis. It can also lead to aflatoxin poisoning or a condition that is technically known as aflatoxicosis.

Presence of Aflatoxin in Food
In knowing what is aflatoxin, it is also essential for you to be familiar with where exactly it can be found. It is believed that 25% of the food crops that are available globally are affected by mycotoxins, the most serious of which is aflatoxin. Some of the most common include cottonseed, peanuts, and corn. Maize, chilies, black pepper, cheese, and milk are other food sources that could be possible sources of aflatoxin. To lessen their presence in these sources, primary producers and food processors are required to take proactive action and follow the regulations that have been set by relevant authorities, such as aflatoxin testing to make sure that the aflatoxin present in their food products is within the limits specified by governing authorities. 
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