Risk assessments for the dietary intake aflatoxins in food: a systematic review (2016–2022)

Kiran Bhardwaj, Julie P. Meneely, Simon A. Haughey, Moira Dean, Patrick Wall, Guangtao Zhang, Bob Baker, Christopher T. Elliott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Aflatoxins (AFs) represent one of the major food safety concerns worldwide. Agricultural commodities including cereals and their derived products, oilseeds, nuts, spices, milk and milk products are highly susceptible to aflatoxin (AF) contamination that can occur pre-harvest, during harvest or post-harvest. Aflatoxicosis is a severe health syndrome associated with direct ingestion of AFs and can be classified as acute and chronic aflatoxicosis. Complete elimination of AFs even after the food processing is hard to achieve due to their high chemical and thermal stability which further makes it extremely difficult to achieve zero exposure through the consumption of contaminated food. Risk assessments play a vital role in managing and reducing the potential risks associated with AF consumption, thereby, ensuring food and consumer safety. Therefore, a commodity wise systematic review of the risk assessments published in the last 6 years (2016–2022) has been presented in the present study in order based on the most to least no. of European Union (EU) Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) incidents recorded for AFs. Results suggested a significant potential health risk from the dietary exposure to AFs through the consumption of all the studied food categories (nuts, nut products and oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, cereals and cereal products and milk and milk products) which held the largest number of AFs RASFF incidents. However, a need to conduct more risk assessments for ‘oilseeds’ commodity and food categories including ‘Fruits and vegetables’ and ‘Herbs and spices’ has been highlighted in the study. Additionally, a greater number of risk assessments are required to be conducted for the countries having the highest AFs RASFF notifications including Turkey, USA, Argentina, China and India. Age wise, the overall risk associated with dietary intake of AFs followed a decreasing trend with the increase in age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109687
Number of pages18
JournalFood Control
Early online date03 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


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