Aflatoxins in nuts and nut products

Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain moulds growing on some food crops during production and storage. They can cause problems to health including cancer in animals and possibly humans by damaging DNA.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 274/2012 amends Regulation (EC) No 1152/2009 which imposes special conditions governing the import of certain foodstuffs from certain third countries due to contamination risk by aflatoxins.

The moulds are microscopic so you may not even see any mould growth. You may not be able to detect any change in the smell, taste or appearance of the food.

The level of aflatoxin contamination cannot be assessed by just looking at the product so samples have to be sent to the Public Analyst laboratory for tests to be carried out. Products may be detained pending the results of such tests.

The maximum permitted levels of aflatoxin in food is set by the European Commission and is put into EU law. Port Health and local authorities have the power to serve a notice ordering for the food to be destroyed, if it is found to be above the maximum level.

The concentration of aflatoxin in the food may not be reduced to a safe level by cooking.