Scientific Studies

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Contamination by Aflatoxins B/G in Food and Commodities Imported in Southern Italy from 2017 to 2020: A Risk-Based Evaluation.

Authors: Gallo, P., Imbimbo, S., Alvino, S., Castellano, V., Arace, O., Soprano, V., ... & Sansone, D. Journal: Toxins (Basel) Year: 2021 Pages: 368 Volume: 13(6)
Fruits: Almonds · Hazelnuts · Pistachios
Subject: Aflatoxins · Food Technology

This study reports the results of aflatoxins B/G monitoring in food of vegetal origin, imported in Southern Italy from extra-European Union countries. From 2017 to 2020, we analyzed 1675 samples using an accredited HPLC method with fluorescence detection. We found out 295 samples (17.6%) were contaminated by aflatoxin B1, 204 by aflatoxins B/G (12.2%), while 75 (4.5%) resulted non-compliant to maximum limits set by the European Union law. Most of the batches tested were unprocessed food; the distribution of contamination levels, incidence of non-compliant samples, inference for different kinds of food are reported. The study focuses on the food more susceptible to contamination by aflatoxins; nuts are the food more controlled, showing the higher number of non-compliant samples. Our study confirms that pistachio nuts, hazelnuts and almonds are the major sources of exposure for consumers. Still, other products, such as chili pepper and Brazil nuts, need to get more information about their contamination levels. The study's findings are discussed in the perspective of the last opinion by EFSA about chronic exposure to aflatoxins. A case study to evaluate not compliance of a composed food to the European Union law is reported.

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