Deadly Aflatoxin on Food Crops Still a Big Threat

The UN World Health Organization estimates that billions of people in the developing world are chronically exposed to aflatoxin, a natural poison on food crops.

According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), aflatoxins contaminate one-quarter of the global food supply and over half the world’s population, meaning that up to 4.5 billion people are exposed to high, unmonitored levels, primarily in developing countries . In sub-Saharan Africa alone, an estimated 26,000 people die annually of liver cancer associated with aflatoxin exposure.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), an estimated 25 percent of the world’s food crops are affected by aflatoxins.

Since many African countries lack enhanced post-harvest handling facilities such as warehouses, processing plants and information systems to address the problem, the lack of knowledge about aflatoxin detection among smallholders and the absence of widely available detection tools remain some of the biggest challenges in the control of aflatoxins.

Experts believe an overreliance on aflatoxin-prone food crops such as maize and ground nuts has also made the toxin difficult to control, and they are calling on farmers to diversify to non-susceptible food crops. To read more, click HERE.