HOW TO MINIMISE THE RISK FROM MYCOTOXINS
It is important to note that mould that produces mycotoxins can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuff and can penetrate deep into food and do not just grow on the surface. Mould usually does not grow in properly dried and stored foods, so efficient drying of commodities and maintenance of the dry state, or proper storage, is an effective measure against mould growth and the production of mycotoxins.
To minimize the health risk from mycotoxins, people are advised to:
1. Inspect whole grains (especially corn, sorghum, wheat, rice), dried figs and nuts such as peanuts, pistachio, almond, walnut, coconut, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts which are all regularly contaminated with aflatoxins for evidence of mould, and discard any that look mouldy, discoloured, or shrivelled.
2. Avoid damage to grains before and during drying, and in storage, as damaged grain is more prone to invasion of moulds and therefore mycotoxin contamination.
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3. Buy grains and nuts as fresh as possible;
4. Make sure that foods are stored properly – kept free of insects, dry, and not too warm;
5. Do not keep foods for extended periods of time before being used; and
6. Ensure a diverse diet – this not only helps to reduce mycotoxins exposure, but also improves nutrition.
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