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Is aflatoxin harmful to humans?

Posted on  November 9, 2019, Edited by Samantha, Category  

Recently, the State Administration of Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) reported the supervision and sampling of infant formula milk powder in 2014. 48 batches of samples from several dairy enterprises of milk markets were not qualified. This is the first large-scale announcement of the results of the sample inspection after the "big exam" of changing the new qualification of the national milk powder was carried out in 2014.

Among the 11 batches with high risk, 3 batches of samples from Shanxi Gucheng Dairy Group Co., Ltd. detected aflatoxin M1 exceeding the standard.

milk powder
milk powder

Aflatoxin, as a mycotoxin, is a metabolite of fungi produced when the grain is not dried and stored in time, and widely exists in the food. Because of its strong toxicity and carcinogenicity, strict regulations have been set in the national food standards and feed standards. Aflatoxin M1 belongs to mycotoxin and is the hydroxylation metabolite of aflatoxin B1 in animals. It is highly toxic and carcinogenic. Because it may induce liver cancer, it was listed as a carcinogen by WHO Cancer Research Institute as early as 1993.

There are about three reasons for the occurrence of aflatoxin in dairy products:
1.mildew feed for the dairy female cow, resulting in problems in raw milk;
2.unclean machine cleaning during the production process in the milk company, resulting in the mildew of organic substances;
3.after production, the packaging is not tight enough, after air leakage, combined with organic substances in the air, the product may produce Aflatoxins.

Aflatoxins do not generally accumulate in the body if they are taken discontinuously. About a week after a single intake, most of them will be excreted through respiration, urine, feces, etc.

Studies by disease research institutes in Asia and Africa have shown a positive correlation between aflatoxins in food and liver cell cancer (LCC). Long-term consumption of food containing a low concentration of aflatoxin is considered to be the main cause of liver cancer, gastric cancer, intestinal cancer, and other diseases.

In addition, aflatoxins and other pathogenic factors (such as hepatitis virus) have superimposed effects on the induction of human diseases. Aflatoxin is the strongest carcinogen found at present. Its carcinogenicity is 900 times higher than hepatocarcinoma, 75 times higher than dimethylnitrosamine and 4000 times higher than 3,4-benzopyrene. It mainly induces the occurrence of liver cancer in animals and also induces cancer in the stomach, kidney, rectum, breast, ovary and small intestine.

milk powder
milk powder

How harmful is aflatoxin M1 to the human body?

1. It's very toxic.

What is aflatoxin M1? Professor Fu Liang, deputy director of the Department of Food Science and Engineering of Jinan University, explained in an interview with reporters that aflatoxin M1 is a toxin produced by aflatoxin, which is easy to appear in many foods, such as grain and cereals. This substance is a highly toxic toxin, which can lead to death if intake a large amount; even if the amount is small and excessive if people take it for a long time, it will affect the immune systems and lead to milk allergic, growth retardation and carcinogenesis, especially liver cancer.

According to the data, aflatoxin M1 was classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO) Cancer Research Institute in 1993. It is a highly toxic substance. Aflatoxin is harmful to human and animal liver tissue, which can lead to liver cancer and even death in severe cases.

For pure milk products detected excessive aflatoxin M1, Fu Liang analysis, if the milk contains this substance, one may be inappropriate storage, or contamination during processing and transportation, moldy; the other may be that dairy cows eat feed containing excessive aflatoxin M1, which is transferred to milk in the process of milk production. Pure milk will be sterilized at high temperature in the production process, why can't it kill aflatoxin M1? In this regard, Fu Liang pointed out that aflatoxin M1 can not kill under generally sterilized, it has heat resistance.

2. Huge liver damage and hepatocellular carcinoma

It is understood that because aflatoxin M1 is quite stable, pasteurization can not kill it, so the detection of aflatoxin M1 not only in feed raw materials but also the final product needs to be identified.

Aflatoxin mainly harms the liver, which in addition to its carcinogenicity and mutagenicity, the immunity is decreased. Many epidemiological data show that hepatitis B patients and hepatitis B virus carriers are more likely to suffer from hepatocellular carcinoma under aflatoxin exposure than healthy people - and China is the heaviest affected area of hepatitis B.

3. The most terrible thing is that aflatoxin is easy to produce and difficult to eliminate.

Once aflatoxin M1 is produced, it is difficult to eliminate, because it is relatively stable to light, heat, and acid, and it is melting point (pyrolysis temperature) is 299 C. Three common methods of disinfection of milk are helpless.

To understand how difficult it is to eliminate aflatoxin, some foreign researchers have done experiments: without changing the quality of milk, first heated fresh milk from cow to 90 for 10 minutes, then cooled to 20 and then irradiated by ultraviolet light for 30 minutes, and finally reduced aflatoxin M1 by 56.2%... There are also various physical, chemical and biological methods to remove aflatoxins, but imagine the taste of milk with hydrogen peroxide... It can be seen that even if ordinary consumers boil milk, the effect of eliminating aflatoxin is not significant.

milk powder
milk powder

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