Scientific Study

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Products: Nuts
Subject: Mycotoxins

A 10-year analysis of RASFF notifications for mycotoxins in nuts. Trend in key mycotoxins and impacted countries

Authors: Owolabi, I. O., Karoonuthaisiri, N., Elliott, C. T., & Petchkongkaew, A.
  • Journals: Food Research International
  • Pages: 112915
  • Year: 2024
The demand for tree nuts has significantly grown in recent years as epidemiological studies and clinical intervention trials demonstrated an inverse relationship between tree nut consumption and chronic diseases. However, mycotoxins are one of the main hazards responsible for increased “Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed” (RASFF) notifications and border rejections on nuts and nut products exported to the E.U. countries in the past few years. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites that present serious threats to human and animal health. The most prevalent, toxic, and carcinogenic mycotoxins observed in human food and animal feed are the aflatoxins (AFs). This work analyzed notifications from the RASFF on nuts and nut products contaminated with mycotoxins, for a 10-year period from 2011 to 2021. A total of 4752 mycotoxin notifications were published on RASFF for food products worldwide, 63% (n = 3000) were notified in “nuts, nut products and seeds”. It was observed that 95% (n = 2669) notifications were due to AFs. Over half of these notifications (52%, n = 1545) were reported for groundnuts, where 29% (n = 441) of the notifications were received for groundnuts from China alone. Border rejection was reported for 91% (n = 2560) of the nuts and nut products which received the notifications from the E.U. countries. This study proffers understanding into the major reasons for RASFF notifications on nuts and nut products exported to E.U. countries. Also, the implications of this issue with some recommendations that could reduce the incidents of notifications for tree nuts have been outlined.