Aflatoxin and ochratoxin A content of spices in Hungary. Food Addit Contam

Central Veterinary Institute, Institute of Debrecen, Bornemissza u. 3-5, H-4031 Debrecen, Hungary.
Food Additives and Contaminants (Impact Factor: 2.13). 10/2005; 22(9):856-63. DOI: 10.1080/02652030500198027
Source: PubMed


In October and November 2004, 91 spice samples (70 ground red pepper, six black pepper, five white pepper, five spice mix and five chilli samples), the majority of which originated from commercial outlets, were analysed for aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2 (AFB1, AFB2, AFG1, AFG2) and ochratoxin A (OTA) content by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) after immunoaffinity column clean-up. Eighteen of the 70 ground red pepper samples contained AFB1, seven of them in a concentration exceeding the 'maximum level' of 5 microg kg(-1) (range 6.1-15.7 microg kg(-1)). Of the other spices assayed, the AFB1 contamination of one chilli sample exceeded 5 microg kg(-1) (8.1 microg kg(-1)). Thirty-two of the 70 ground red pepper samples contained OTA, eight of them in a concentration exceeding the 10 microg kg(-1) 'maximum level' (range 10.6-66.2 microg kg(-1)). One chilli sample was contaminated with OTA at 2.1 microg kg(-1). The AFB1 and OTA contamination of ground red pepper exceeding the 'maximum level' (5 and 10 microg kg(-1), respectively) was obviously the consequence of mixing imported ground red pepper batches heavily contaminated with AFB1 and OTA with red pepper produced in Hungary. This case calls attention to the importance of consistently screening imported batches of ground red pepper for aflatoxin and ochratoxin A content and strictly prohibiting the use of batches containing mycotoxin concentrations exceeding the maximum permitted level.

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    • "Microbial contaminations in spices occur due to poor cleaning and sanitation practices, inadequate facility and equipment design and maintenance, and inadequate ingredient control and handling. In recent years, the natural occurrence and contamination of aflatoxins in spices has been reported by several researchers (Zinedine et al. 2006; Romagnoli et al. 2007; Martins et al. 2001; Fazekas et al. 2005; Aydin et al. 2007; Cho et al. 2008). Aflatoxins are classified as group I carcinogens by the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC 1993) and aflatoxin B 1 is the most potent known natural carcinogen and is usually the major aflatoxin produced by toxigenic strains. "
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    • "The beef luncheon and beef burger we tested were made from meat of ruminants, which have a higher tolerance to OTA exposure than non-ruminants because protozoa in the rumen are able to degrade OTA into ochratoxin a and other less toxic metabolites (Fink-Gremmels, 2008). Therefore, the high contamination rates of these meat products with OTA might be attributed to the growth of OTA-producing fungi on the surface of processed meat products (Iacumin et al., 2009) or more likely from the addition of non-meat additives like cereals and spices (Fazekas et al., 2005; European Commission, 2002). It is difficult to remove or reduce OTA once it is introduced because it is moderately stable and is unaffected by most processes of food storage and preparation (Schiavone et al., 2008) including heating (Monaci, Palmisano, Matrella, & Tantillo, 2005). "
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    • "However, the moulds' ability to produce mycotoxins is greatly influenced by environmental factors, of which the most important are temperature, relative humidity, insect damage, drought and inadequate storage conditions (Miraglia et al., 2009; Prandini et al., 2009). Contamination of spices with aflatoxins (AFs) and/or ochratoxin A (OTA) has been reported in several countries (such as Turkey, Hungary, Malaysia , Spain, India, Pakistan) (Aydin et al., 2007; Fazekas et al., 2005; Jalili et al., 2010; Paterson, 2007; Reddy et al., 2001; Santos et al., 2010). Only a very recent study reports the co-occurrence of multiple mycotoxins in pepper (Yogendrarajah et al., 2014a) and chilli (Yogendrarajah et al., 2014b) from Sri Lanka, the two most widely used spices in Sri Lankan cuisine. "
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