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What causes aflatoxin in milk powder?

Posted on: November 8, 2019, by Samantha

In recent years, milk powder safety accidents in milk markets occur frequently. The milk powder melamine incident of Sanlu Group shocked China in 2008. From this, the Chinese learned to familiarize themselves with this awkward chemical term and were frightened to talk about it. Shortly after the accident, we Chinese people were once again attracted by the safety of milk powder and milk nutrients, then learned a new term, aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a highly toxic substance. Aflatoxin has a destructive effect on human and animal liver tissue and can cause liver cancer or even death in severe cases.

The aflatoxin in milk powder is a kind of aflatoxin, M1 mainly exists in dairy products. It is transformed from aflatoxin B1 in cow feed. China has a maximum allowable content of 0.5 g/kg (aflatoxin M1) for milk and its products (sterilized milk, fresh farm milk, whole milk powder, evaporated milk, sweet condensed milk cream) and fresh pork tissue (liver, kidney, blood, and lean meat).

How does aflatoxin induce liver cancer?
Experts point out that aflatoxin is metabolized in the liver after being absorbed by the human body, but the toxicity of aflatoxin can kill numerous hepatocytes and lead to liver damage, which will develop into cirrhosis of the liver and then liver cancer.

milk powder
milk powder

Aflatoxin induces hepatocellular carcinoma in the following stages:
1. Water-like degeneration of hepatocytes.
2. Proliferative basophils appear, which can exist alone or coexist with water-like degeneration.
3. Nodule regeneration with parenchymal cells.
4. There are transformed cells.
5. Formation of hepatocellular carcinoma.

This article mainly checks the accidents of aflatoxin exceeding the standard in milk powder of the cattle company in recent years. According to the announcement of the General Administration of Quality Supervision and Inspection in 2011, a batch of products produced by Mengniu Dairy (Meishan) Co., Ltd. were found to exceed 140% of the standard value of aflatoxin M1 (standard value: <0.5 ug/kg/, measured value: 1.2 ug/kg).

It is understood that 18 items such as lead, inorganic arsenic, total mercury, chromium, aflatoxin M1 and melamine in liquid milk products were tested in this spot check. Two products of aflatoxin M1 were found to be not up to the standard. In addition to 250 ml pure milk produced by Mengniu Meishan Factory on October 18, 2011, Fujian Changfu Dairy Co., Ltd. produced 250 ml pure milk (fine milk) on October 8, 2011 (standard value: <0.5 ug/kg, measured value: 0.9 ug/kg). This is the case.

Reported by Xinhua net, Guangzhou, July 22, 2012 (Reporter Oudianqiu) Guangzhou Bureau of Industry and Commerce recently announced the second circulation link of dairy products and Dairy-Containing food sampling inspection in the second quarter of 2012, showing that five infant milk powder from Hunan Province were found to be substandard in aflatoxin content, of which four milk powder recipes and products were nominally produced by Hunan Chang. Shayahua Dairy Co., Ltd., the nominal production unit of one product is Hunan Yahua Dairy Holding Co., Ltd.

According to the data released by Guangzhou Bureau of Industry and Commerce, the nominal production unit is Big Baby Formula Milk Powder in Golden Suit of Hunan Changsha Yahua Dairy Co., Ltd. (Section 2) (Trademark: Nanshan, specification: 400g/box, production date: 2011-08-04; 2011-12-17), Baby Formula Milk Powder (Section 3) (Trademark: Nanshan, specification: 900) G/tank, production date: 2011-08-08), Big Baby Formula Milk Powder (Section 2) (Trademark: Nanshan, specification: 400g/box, 2011-08-23) was found to be unqualified for aflatoxin M1. It was found that the content of aflatoxin M1 was not up to standard in the bigger infant formula powder of Baihui (Section 2) of Hunan Yahua Dairy Holding Co., Ltd. (Trademark: Nanshan, specification: 700g/bag, production date: 2011-07-09).

According to the Guangzhou Bureau of Industry and Commerce, aflatoxin M1 belongs to mycotoxin and is a hydroxylated metabolite of aflatoxin B1 in animals, which is highly toxic and carcinogenic.

At that time, the Guangzhou Bureau of Industry and Commerce had taken measures to remove unqualified food from shelves, seal it up, file a case for investigation and punishment, to prevent unqualified food from entering the market.

In 2014, according to the notification of the State Administration of Food and Drug Administration, 48 batches of 1565 samples of various brands were not qualified. Among them, aflatoxin M1 was detected in three batches of products of Shanxi Gucheng Dairy Group. These substandard products have now been ordered to recall, two enterprises lost their infant milk powder licenses, and 10 enterprises and the cattle rancher stopped production and rectification. This is the first large-scale announcement of the results of the spot check after the "life and death test" of the national milk powder was carried out in 2014.

Aflatoxin is difficult to remove and degrade, and the degradation methods are also complex. The general heating disinfection or pasteurization method is useless for aflatoxin. At present, it is more convenient to use the aflatoxin degrader on the market. It can degrade aflatoxin effectively without destroying the original food by using the principle of ultraviolet radiation.

What we ordinary people can do is to do a good job of investigating when choosing milk powder. It is less likely to choose aflatoxin as much as possible. There are several small principles for selecting milk powder.

1. Choose milk powder must be a good milk source with safe milk nutritional facts, good milk source cows do not need to eat feed so that the milk source may contain less small and fewer types of aflatoxin.
2. To choose a large brand, the quality control of a large brand is generally better, and the production process is more reassuring. Don't be greedy and cheap in choosing some "three without" products.
3. Always pay attention to the milk powder dynamics, do not buy problem milk powder.

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