A’food alert issued by Ministry of Health has arranged the withdraw from the shelves of supermarkets of some lots of dried figs for microbiological risk linked to aflatoxin B1.
Giant Ventura figs: the recalled batch
The product subject to the ministerial recall is a batch of giant figs from the Ventura brand offered to the public in packs of 300 grams in stores Grand Market.
The recall was carried out as a precaution. These are the details for recognizing the package: lot 350020356/2-11-795-23 of giant Ventura figs produced in the Çarş Mah. Osman Akça Sok. No:41Köşk, Aydn 09570 factory in Turkey. The expiry date or minimum shelf life is June 2024. Name of the manufacturer: Osman Akça A.Ş.
The Ministry of Health asks consumers to do not eat the figs but of return the package at the Gran Mercato store.
Food recalls, it should be noted, are a practice, they are implemented for precautionary purposes and are an indication of the fact that the controls are working.
What are aflatoxins
As stated on the website of the Higher Institute of Health, aflatoxins are produced by the secondary metabolism, i.e. induced in a plant organism by external factors, of some species of filamentous microfungi. Aflatoxins can develop during cultivation, harvesting and storage on numerous products of plant origin: cereals, oilseeds (such as peanuts, almonds and peanuts), spices, grains, dried and dried fruit.
There are 17 types of aflatoxins identified so far, but only 5 are considered worthy of particular attention for their diffusion and toxicity. These are aflatoxins B1 (like the one subject to the food recall), B2, G1, G2 and M1.
Crops coming from tropical and subtropical areas are most frequently contaminated. But, the ISS specifies, due to climate change even crops present in areas that currently have a temperate or cold climate could be affected in the future.
Aflatoxins and damage to human health
Aflatoxins have a high degree of toxicity and are capable of creating damage to health both a short term that in chronic manner. The liver it is the organ most exposed to the risks of aflatoxins and, in particular, those of group B1. Aflatoxin B1 has an action on genes and on the development of cancer to the liver. Since 1993, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified aflatoxin B1 in Group 1, i.e. that of “proven or presumed human carcinogenic substances”.
Exposure to aflatoxins occurs primarily through the foodsbut it can also occur through inhalation and contact with the skin.
Like all microtoxins, aflatoxins are also particularly heat resistant. For this reason, the heat treatments generally used in industrial processes, as well as those used in domestic preparations, are not able to neutralize them.
The crop at greatest risk of aflatoxin B1 contamination is corn together with its derived products.