What foods contain aflatoxin?

Posted on  September 1, 2020, Edited by Jason, Category  

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  1. What foods may contain aflatoxin?
  2. How to kill aflatoxin?
    1. Misunderstandings about aflatoxin
    2. So what are the effective ways to eliminate aflatoxin?
  3. What can you eat to inhibit aflatoxin?
  4. How to store food to avoid the production of aflatoxin?

What foods may contain aflatoxin?

Aflatoxins are widespread in nature and in human life. Even if you ask does peanut butter contains aflatoxin, the answer is probable.

1. Mouldy peanuts

If one peanut is moldy, it's best to throw away the whole pack of aflaoxin peanuts.

Aflatoxin likes to hide in mouldy foods, especially foods with high starch content. Peanuts are no exception. In high temperatures and humid environment, this kind of carcinogenic mold is most likely to breed.

Note: If a peanut is moldy, throw away the whole pack of peanuts. Aspergillus flavus is spread in the form of spores, and food is easily involved in mildew.

2. Bitter Nuts

If you eat bitter melon seeds, almonds or other nuts, you must spit it out and rinse your mouth, because the bitter taste of melon seeds and other nuts comes from the aflatoxin produced in the process of mildew. Frequent ingestion will increase the risk of liver cancer.

Suggestion: Don't be lazy if you eat mouldy and bitter nuts. Be sure to vomit them immediately.

3. Long soaked fungus

There was news that a consumer in Zhejiang suffered food poisoning from eating black fungus that had been soaked for three days, leading to multiple organs failure.

Doctor's medical results: This is the serious follow-up consequence caused by microbial mycotoxins. Fungus will produce aflatoxins, penicillin, etc. in the soaking process.

Suggestion: Soak the fungus as much as you want, and don't soak for several days.

4. Unwashed chopsticks

The chopsticks themselves do not grow Aspergillus flavus, but after eating corn, peanuts and other foods with high starch content, the chopsticks tend to contain starch. It will lead to mildew with time passing by, which produces aflatoxin. Naked chopsticks and lacquered chopsticks are easy to crack and hide food residues and produce aflatoxins.

1. The best choice is iron chopsticks, which are hard to crack and there will be no food residues.

2. When washing the chopsticks, remember to soak them first to soften the food residues on them so that they can be easily washed off.

5. Mouldy corn

Aflatoxins are hidden in mouldy foods, especially peanuts, corn, beans and other foods with high starch content. Starch can breed aflatoxins that can cause liver cancer under high temperatures and humidity.

A. Buy less each time and don't "store" to avoid mildew.

B. Clean every corner containing food residues at home.

6. Self-squeezed oil in small workshops

Some customers blindly pursue pure natural foods, going to small workshops to buy so-called original oil or squeeze oil at home. For these two oil extraction methods, experts believe that there are great safety risks.

In addition to the quality of raw materials, there are still the following problems in "soil oil extraction" or self-extruding oil: it has not been refined, which has many impurities, and is prone to oxidative deterioration; oil extraction equipment is not easy to clean thoroughly, and residual oil stains and grain residues are oxidized later, then mold will occur, and food safety risks will be nonnegligible; in addition, and low resource utilization will cause vast waste.

Suggestion: Go to a big supermarket to buy well-known brands.

7. Milk and milk powder

The main source of aflatoxin in milk powder is milk. If dairy cows eat the feed containing aflatoxin B1, aflatoxin B1 will be transformed into aflatoxin M1 in the body of dairy cows, because of the high-temperature resistance of aflatoxin will not eliminate aflatoxin even in the process of milk powder production. This leads to the presence of aflatoxin in milk powder.

The second is in the milk powder production process, the machine cleaning of the cattle company is not finished, organic matter in the machine mildew, thus producing aflatoxin.

How to kill aflatoxin?

1. Misunderstandings about aflatoxin

A. Can aflatoxin be killed by heat?
Aflatoxins can only be decomposed at a high temperature of 280 degrees, and ordinary cooking methods cannot reach this temperature. In addition, even pasteurization cannot completely eliminate aflatoxins in food.

B. Sunlight can kill aflatoxin
Aflatoxins can resist ultraviolet rays, so sunlight cannot kill aflatoxins. Of course, the disinfection cabinet is helpless in the face of aflatoxins.

C. Alcohol can kill aflatoxin
Aflatoxin is a toxin formed by Aspergillus flavus. It is difficult to be destroyed by the outside world. Alcohol cannot destroy it.

2. So what are the effective ways to eliminate aflatoxin?

A. Soaking in baking soda
Because aflatoxin is relatively easy to decompose under alkaline conditions, soaking with baking soda (1% sodium bicarbonate) for a while can remove more than 90% of aflatoxin. A lot of aflatoxins are attached to the surface, and washing several times can remove most of the mold. In addition, the pressure and temperature of the pressure cooker is relatively high, so the effect of removing aflatoxin is good.

B. Activated carbon adsorption method
Activated carbon has a perfect effect on adsorbing toxicity, and it has no side effects on the human body. It is wrapped in breathable packaging, which can put the items that need to be removed from aflatoxin with activated carbon. This detoxification effect is relatively good. It has been reported that the aflatoxin b1 of peanut oil treated with activated carbon can be reduced from 100μg/kg to less than 10μg/kg. There have been many pieces of research on new types of adsorbents, such as biological adsorbents, but their application effects remain to be investigated.

C. Add salt before heating oil
A small action before cooking can help eliminate a certain amount of aflatoxin. If we add edible oil such as peanut oil to the pot and heat it, add a small amount of salt and stir for 10 to 20 seconds, which will basically eliminate most of the aflatoxin in the edible oil. The neutralization and degradation of aflatoxin can be realized by table salt. And in this way, it can eliminate 95% of aflatoxin.

D. Wash the rice several times
Rice is one of the most common staple foods in the family, and aflatoxin mainly exists in the bran and surface layer of rice. Therefore, when washing the rice, rub it with your hands and wash the rice several times. Try to steam the rice in a pressure cooker to remove the toxins contained effectively.

E. Throw it away
If you don’t want to take any risk, please throw foods away immediately when it is moldy. Evenif there is only a little mold, throw away the whole.

What can you eat to inhibit aflatoxin?

1. Eat more green vegetables

Eating more green leafy vegetables can invalidate part of the aflatoxin that we accidentally eat down, because chlorophyll can prevent the absorption of aflatoxin.

2. Eat figs often

Animal experiments confirmed that fig tree’s latex juice and dried fruit extracts have inhibitory effects on mouse tumors. The low incidence of cancer in parts of South America is related to regular consumption of figs. Some experts believe that figs may contain an anti-cancer ingredient, which can prevent the formation of early cancer.

3. Eat kiwi often

A large amount of vitamin C in kiwi fruit can prevent or reduce the generation of free radicals, and has a certain auxiliary effect on preventing the occurrence of cancer. In addition, vitamin C can also promote the production of interferon, thereby enhancing the body's immune function and anti-cancer ability. Kiwi fruit can prevent the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the body, and have a certain effect on preventing gastrointestinal tumors.

How to store food to avoid the production of aflatoxin?

1. Refrigeration and Freezing


Reduce the temperature to inhibit the growth and reproduction of microorganisms, delay various biochemical reactions in food and microorganisms, and inhibit the activity of various enzymes from achieving the purpose of extending the shelf life. Generally, most microorganisms are difficult to reproduce below 10° C, and almost stop growing at -10° C.


A. When storing vegetables, do not touch the inner wall of the refrigerator to avoid frostbiting the vegetables, destroying the nutrition of the food, and the wounds are more likely to cause food corruption.

B. The food should be packed in small bags for easy access and avoid cross-contamination. For example, if several kinds of green vegetables are packed in a large bag, a few rotten leaves can contaminate the whole load of green vegetables, and other green vegetables will rot quickly. There is no such problem in small bags.

C. When you put foods in the freezer layer, small bags are more needed. First, it is difficult to divide when eating. Second, freezing stops the growth of microorganisms and does not have the effect of sterilization. During the thawing process, the temperature rises and the bacteria start to multiply again. Repeated thawing-freezing will make the food easier to spoilage and cannot be kept for months.

D. The refrigerator does not kill microorganisms. Therefore, the refrigerator is actually a gathering place for bacteria. The food taken out of the refrigerator should not be directly eaten. It must be washed, processed or heated.

E. When eating grapefruit and orange, you can leave their peel and put it in the refrigerator. It is a natural deodorant.

2. Pickled


Salt or sugar infiltrate the food tissue, reduce the water activity of the food, and increase its osmotic pressure. Selectively controlling the growth and fermentation of microorganisms, inhibiting the growth of spoilage bacteria, preventing food spoilage and prolonging the storage period can be realized.

Generally speaking, when the salt concentration is lower than 1%, the activities of microorganisms will not be affected; when the concentration is 1%-3%, the physiological activities of microorganisms will be affected. When the concentration reaches 6%-8%, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, botulinum, etc. will stop growing; when the concentration exceeds 10%, most of the bacilli will no longer grow. Cocci must be inhibited when the salt concentration reaches 15%, staphylococci must be killed when the salt concentration reaches 20%, and fungi must be inhibited when the salt concentration reaches 20%-25%.

For example, the saltwater of Sichuan kimchi has a concentration of 25%-28%.


A. Pickling can prolong the storage period of food, but the damage of vitamin C is serious, and the salt and sugar content is also high, so it cannot be eaten as the main food. However, it helps digestion after fermentation and has a unique flavor. It is not harmful if you eat occasionally.

B. When vegetables are pickled by fermentation, under the action of microorganisms, nitrate will be transformed into nitrite, and it will reach a peak around the 7th day. Then the nitrite content will drop again. After about 20 days, the nitrite content greatly reduces and remains basically stable. Therefore, when pickling foods like kimchi, either eat it in one or two days or wait for 20 days before eating.

3. Dry


The growth of microorganisms is inseparable from water. When the moisture content is below a certain level, the growth of microorganisms will be inhibited and even die.

Drying and dehydration will cause loss of a lot of vitamin C and a part of water-soluble vitamins, but the overall nutritional value does not decrease too much, and it will be much more convenient to store.

4. Vacuum


The basic life process of microorganisms is nutrition and respiration. In a vacuum environment, the oxygen pressure in the packaging bag is low. In an oxygen-deficient environment, the growth and reproduction of aerobic microorganisms will be inhibited. Under normal circumstances, if the oxygen content is less than 0.5%-1.0%, the growth of molds will stop. Secondly, the moisture content in the vacuum environment is low. Vacuum packaging can provide an environment with very low humidity. Microorganisms will lose their living conditions when they lack water, which can inhibit the growth of microorganisms and achieve the purpose of extending the shelf life.


A. Please pay attention when choosing a vacuum machine. Some vacuum machines can only vacuum one bag at a time. The bag used in this type of vacuum machine has low requirements. Ordinary vacuum bags, yin and yang bags, and electrostatic bags can be used; some vacuum machines can simultaneously vacuum several bags. The bags used by this type of vacuum machine have higher requirements, and special vacuum bags are required.

B. Some vacuum machines can only pump dry food, such as beans, grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc.; some vacuum machines are used for both dry and wet purposes, and can also vacuum some foods with moisture or powder, such as food cooked by fresh brine, spice powder, etc. Choose according to your needs.

C. Improper storage of food can have terrible consequences.

D. When the vacuum packaging is impacted by an external force, it is easy to leak air, and the vacuum environment will be released. When a leak is found, the packaging should be replaced in time, and you should re-vacuum, or eat it as soon as possible to avoid deterioration. E. Some foods have large edges and corners, and the effect of vacuuming will be not ideal, such as beans, brown sugar, etc. These foods are rich in nutrients and are preferred by microorganisms. Therefore, even if the vacuum is done, pay attention to observation and handle abnormalities in time.


Aflatoxin always appear in places you haven't noticed. The best solution to avoid encountering it is not to buy food and oil for coveting for little advantages, not to blindly pursue natural foods or no-additive foods and squeeze oil by yourself or go to small workshops to buy oil.

Finally, clean your house thoroughly and don’t be a skinflint. There is a saying:” Penny wise, pound foolish.” If you find mouldy food or musty wooden tableware, don't be reluctant to throw it away. After all, a $10 tableware is much cheaper than the cancer treatment. What happens if you eat aflatoxin? Just go to the local hospital see doctor.

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