2011-2012 Aflatoxins in Corn products, Nuts and Nut Butters

Executive Summary

The 2011-2012 CFIA Aflatoxins targeted survey targeted domestic and imported corn products, nuts, and nut butters. A total of 703 samples were collected from retail stores in 11 Canadian cities between April 2011 and March 2012. The samples collected included 304 corn products (e.g. corn flour, corn tacos, corn/tortilla chips), 295 nuts, and 104 nut butters. Samples were analysed using a multi-analyte method that detects multiple aflatoxin forms. Most of the samples (89%) did not contain a detectable level of aflatoxins. The total aflatoxin levels in the remaining samples ranged from 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) to 12.5 ppb.

Of the 304 corn product samples tested, 284 did not contain detectable levels of aflatoxins. Twenty corn product samples had total aflatoxin levels that ranged from 0.1 ppb to 1.5 ppb. There are no regulations established in Canada for aflatoxin levels in corn products, so compliance with a numerical standard could not be evaluated. None of the samples were determined to pose an unacceptable concern to human health by Health Canada. No product recalls were warranted given the lack of a health concern.

Of the 295 nut samples tested, 274 did not contain detectable levels of aflatoxins. Twenty-one nut samples had total aflatoxin levels that ranged from 0.1 ppb to 7.6 ppb. Of the 104 nut butter samples tested, 70 did not contain detectable levels of aflatoxins. Thirty-four nut butter samples had total aflatoxin levels that ranged from 0.1 to 12.5 ppb. All samples of nuts and nut butters (100%) were compliant with the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations regulatory limit of 15 ppb total aflatoxins in nut and nut products, thus no follow-up activity was deemed necessary.

The prevalence and levels of aflatoxins in corn products, nuts and nut butters in this survey were compared with that of similar products in the 2010-2011 CFIA FSAP Aflatoxins survey. The prevalence of aflatoxins were similar in the two survey years (11% positive rate in the current year and 8% positive rate in the previous year).

In general, aflatoxin levels reported in the current FSAP survey were consistent with the results obtained in the previous FSAP survey.

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