Food Law News - UK - 2001

FSA Statement, 1 August 2001

CONTAMINANTS - Peanut Products and Aflatoxin

The Agency is aware of occasional problems with aflatoxin contamination in peanut and peanut products highlighted by the BBC News at 10 on 31 July. There are already strong measures in place to protect consumers of these products. Current regulations set a limit for aflatoxin B1, the most toxic of aflatoxins, of 2 mcg/kg, and a total limit of 4mcg/kg for total aflatoxins in nuts and nut products. It is the responsibility of local authorities including port health authorities to protect consumers by effectively enforcing these limits. Aflatoxins are part of a group of naturally occurring toxins called mycotoxins produced by moulds on foods such as nuts, dried fruits and cereals. Aflatoxins are known carcinogens in animals and there is evidence that they are also carcinogenic in humans. A programme of surveys is carried out by the Agency to monitor levels of these toxins. The levels found are generally low and there is no need for anyone to avoid eating peanut butter.

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