Preserving Cereals and Nuts from Aflatoxins

8/26/2007
 

What is Aflatoxin?

It is a toxic substance that grows in corps (especially peanuts, corn and nuts) by greenish gray fungal molds like Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasticus.
There are four common kinds of Aflatoxins that may cause toxication for human and animal; they are: G1, G2, B1and B2. They are named according to their color when they expose to Ultraviolet rays during laboratory detach; the resulted colors are: (B)lue and (G)reen yet, B1 Aflatoxin is the most harmful.
These molds may attack corps in fields or storehouses, especially when they expose to damage during harvest processes or attacked by insects or rodents. Alfatoxins may grow when appropriate conditions exist, such as: heat and moisture during storage.

Directions for Storing Cereals and Nuts:

- Workers must be trained properly in storage methods and processes, moreover; trucks and other equipments must be clean to ensure insects and rodents non existence.
- Decayed seeds (whether in fields or storehouses) must be discarded and animals should not be fed by such seeds since their toxins transfer to the produced milk.
- Suitable storage conditions must be provided such as: dryness and good ventilation during and after storage processes to provide protection against rainfalls and water places. In addition, humidity in storehouses should not exceed 12% to decrease mold growth chances as well as toxins formation, and rodents must be fought.
- In case of packaged goods, packaging materials should be clean and dry, far from moisture recourses and the corps should dry and free from molds as well as insects.
- Suitable pesticides should be used to prevent insects.
- Storing units should be free from insects as well as molds by using fumigation, good cleaning with appropriate and effective substances, disinfecting storehouses periodically to prevent infection to new corps.
- Storehouses should not have holes that allow rodents and birds.
- Storing units should be continuously ventilated and refrigerated during transportation at suitable temperature degrees.

Instructions for Consumer:

Corps and nuts infected by Aflatoxins considered a universal food and fodder problem since the mold that causes such toxin can grow and produce toxin when appropriate conditions like heat and moisture are available. Countries in general insure the safety of imported products regarding this toxin, nevertheless; it is difficult to control products after they enter the country since bad storage at storehouses, shops or even homes may cause growth of such molds. To prevent this kind of toxins do the following:
- Buy nuts from reliable places.
- Avoid nuts that seem to be infected by insects or rodents (which indicates bad storage and exchange) since that infection provides suitable environment for molds.
- Avoid buying nuts from hawkers since it is known that their storage conditions are very poor.
- Buy little amounts of nuts and keep them in dry, well sealed plastic containers at low degrees of temperature (freezing degrees).