August 14, 2012, Ottawa: As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a study was released today that found more than 600 food samples tested for aflatoxins (AF) were safe for human consumption. No recalls were required.
The CFIA collected 628 samples at retail in 11 Canadian cities and analyzed them for AF. Overall, 93% of dried fruit, nut and corn product samples analyzed in 2010-2011 had no detectable levels of aflatoxins (AF). None of the dried fruit samples contained detectable levels of AF. Of the nut and corn products with detectable levels of AF, only two nut samples (one nut butter and one peanut) exceeded the Canadian maximum limits. Further review of these samples determined that no recalls were required as they would not pose a risk to human health.
When there is a detection of elevated levels Health Canada completes an assessment to determine if the specific level poses a health risk, based on the contaminant’s level, expected frequency of exposure and contribution to overall diet. These factors help determine whether further action is needed, up to and including product seizure and/or recall. If a human health risk is found, a public recall notice is issued immediately.
Aflatoxins are naturally-occurring toxins released by Aspergillis moulds and are considered a liver carcinogen. They can contaminate fruit, nuts or corn if grown and/or stored under hot, humid conditions. AF is associated mainly with imported products. Due to the climate, Canadian-grown products are unlikely to contain aftlatoxins.
Further information on this survey report is available on the CFIA website.