Mycotoxin co-exposures in infants and young children consuming household- and industrially-processed complementary foods in Nigeria and risk management advice

Oluwaseun T. Ojuri, Chibundu N. Ezekiel*, Mari K. Eskola, Bojan Šarkanj, Akinola D. Babalola, Michael Sulyok, Jana Hajšlová, Christopher T. Elliott, Rudolf Krska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This study compared mycotoxin levels in 53 household-formulated and 84 industrially-processed complementary foods, assessed co-exposure patterns from consumption of the contaminated foods by infants and young children (IYC) in two Nigerian states, and evaluated the influence of awareness and adopted processing practices at the household levels on toxin levels in the foods. About 42 and 93% of the industrial- and household-processed foods, respectively, were contaminated by mycotoxins. Aflatoxins, alternariol, citrinin and dihydrocitrinone levels were significantly higher in household-formulated foods while fumonisins were similarly higher in the industrially-processed foods. Of the household-formulated items, Tom bran contained higher aflatoxin levels leading to higher exposure (median: 641 ng/kg bw per day) and health risk (β-coefficient: 51.4; p = 0.01) in the IYC. Family cereal and ogi contained the highest levels of fumonisins in the industrial and household food categories, respectively, with the highest exposure estimated for IYC who consumed family cereal (median: 18 μg/kg bw per day). Aflatoxin exposures were higher in children aged 12–24 months compared to those below 12 months of age. About 69 and 75% of IYC who consumed family cereal and Tom bran, respectively, were co-exposed to mycotoxins resulting in commensurate risks of co-exposures. Overall, 47% of the IYC were co-exposed to 2–4 mycotoxins (aflatoxins, citrinin, fumonisins and ochratoxin A) with eight different co-exposure combinations. Only 33% of the respondents were aware of mycotoxins. Length of grain storage influenced food aflatoxin levels. Adequate risk management advice to concerned stakeholders for mycotoxin control in complementary foods in Nigeria is offered herein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-322
Number of pages11
JournalFood Control
Early online date27 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2019



  • Complementary foods
  • Consumer awareness
  • Exposure and risk management
  • Food safety
  • Infant nutrition
  • Mycotoxins

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