CONSUMPTION OF AFLATOXIN CONTAMINATED PEANUT BUTTER: A HEALTH THREAT TO THE POPULATION IN LUSAKA URBAN-ZAMBIA

Maureen S. BANDA, Rosemary N. LIKWA, Phoebe BWEMBYA, Jeremiah BANDA, Allan MBEWE

Abstract

Aflatoxin contamination is a major global Public Health problem especially in developing countries. Consumption of contaminated peanut butter poses a serious public health challenge. Aflatoxin is implicated in cancer, low immunity, and stunting among children and increases morbidity and mortality. To investigate aflatoxin contamination levels in peanut butter from local and international suppliers in selected Lusaka urban district outlets, a cross sectional quantitative study was carried out. A total of 109 peanut butter samples collected from local and international sources were tested for aflatoxin contamination levels using AccuScan Reveal Q+ test. The findings showed that nine (8.3%) of the 109 samples satisfied the 0 to 4ppb European standards, and were deemed safe for public consumption, while the majority (91.7%) were not.  However, using the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) standard, of up to 15ppb, 83 (76.1%) samples were found to be safe for consumption. There was a marked difference in aflatoxin contamination of products with P-value of less than 0.00001. The study revealed high aflatoxin contamination in local compared to international products at 15ppb standard where 25 local products compared to 1 product of the international origin were contaminated above 15ppb. To protect the safety of consumers, it is recommended that the regulatory agency, the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) provides guidance on standards and monitor compliance. To control the movement of contaminated peanut products across borders and their consumption, collaborative research and consumer awareness will be critical.

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