articles

Angineh Parsadanians, MSc 1

Food microbiologist, Speaker & Compiler

1Department of Quality Assurance of AHT-Sahra Ruby Co

Prevention and control of aflatoxin
contaminated nuts and nut products

Angineh Parsadanians, MSc 1

Food microbiologist, Speaker & Compiler

1Department of Quality Assurance of AHT-Sahra Ruby Co

Abstract

Pesticides are widely used in most areas of crop production to minimize infestations by pests and thus protect crops from potential yield losses and reduction of product quality. Hence, they play an essential role in ensuring high profits to farmers, providing reliable supplies of agricultural produce at prices which are affordable to consumers, and also improving the quality of produce in terms of cosmetic appeal which is also important to buyers. Benefits from pesticide use can accrue to a number of different recipients, not only to farmers or consumers, but also to the society. At the same time, there is evidence of both direct and indirect dangers involved in the use of these chemical substances both for humans and the environment. Health impacts from pesticide use are of continuous concern in the European population, requiring a constant evaluation of European pesticide policy. However, health impacts have never been quantified accounting for specific crops contributing differently to overall human exposure as well as accounting for individual substances showing distinct environmental behavior and toxicity. Although discussions among scientists and the public have repeatedly focused on the real, predicted, and perceived risks that pesticides pose to people and the environment, in reality nobody will ever know with complete certainty that a pesticide is safe or not. Thus, this article aims to provide a review information for understanding the magnitude of pesticide-associated health problems, identifying groups at special risk, knowing which compounds pose special problems, and finding safer alternatives. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the need to balance alarm about the hazards of pesticides with a sound understanding of precise risks and the best ways to prevent them.

To request the full text version of the article or for further details, please contact the below email:

qa@ahtfoods.com

Abstract

Naturally occurring toxicant contamination of foods with mycotoxins is unavoidable and unpredictable and poses a unique challenge to food safety. Aflatoxins are toxic mold metabolites produced by toxigenic strains of Aspergillus species. Primary commodities susceptible to aflatoxin contamination include nuts and animal-derived foods. Tree nuts (almonds, pistachios, and walnuts) are an exceptionally valuable crop, especially in Iran. The product can be contaminated with aflatoxins, with the former being of special concern because of the strict regulatory levels applied by the European Community (EC). Natural, consumer-acceptable control methods/procedures are therefore required to conform to such limits.

Risks associated with aflatoxin-contaminated foods can be reduced through the use of specific processing and decontamination procedures.

Practical decontamination procedures must:

  • Inactivate, destroy, or remove the toxin
  • Not produce or leave toxic residues in the food/feed
  • Retain the nutritive value of the food/feed
  • Not alter the acceptability or the technological properties of the product, and, if possible,destroy fungal spores.

It is concluded that continued efforts are needed to: Identify and quantify human/animal exposure; estimate health risks and make defensible risk‐benefit judgments; develop sampling plans based on experimental observation; arrive at agreed regulatory levels based on legitimate sampling plans, analytical capabilities and economic considerations; develop procedures for disposal of contaminated lots; and develop plant varieties resistant to fungal invasion.

Research carried out in different regions and provinces of Iran has shown many genera and species of toxigenic fungi, and aflatoxins have been found in different types of food, air, and equipment. Contaminated warehouses are an important route for the entrance of mycotoxins into human tissues, and thus certain management activities are important in order to decrease mycotoxin levels in foodstuffs. Based on the levels of nuts consumption in Iran, many control processes are aimed at decreasing mycotoxin production in nuts such as pistachios and using safe products. Farm-management and food-storage practices are effective at decreasing food-processing times, and these efforts can prevent or minimize toxin formation in agriculture, industry, and food-product manufacturing in order to improve human and animal health. The routine detection of mycotoxins in food and food products for human and animal consumption should be performed as early as possible, before these toxins enter human or animal bodies.

To request the full text version of the article or for further details, please contact the below email:

qa@ahtfoods.com

Abstract

Winters can tend to get very cold sometimes. It is important to keep ourselves warm during this time. This is where our diet plays a crucial role.

We tend to fall sick mostly during the winter season. We need to take extra care of ourselves during this time. Taking care of the diet is a must. we should only eat foods that keep us warm and boost our immunity during this season. This way there are fewer chances that we will fall sick and in turn, we can enjoy the weather merrily. We need to keep ourselves healthy to cope up with the winter spirit. Certain foods like Dried fruits and nuts help us in keeping warm during the cold season. Making these foods a part of the diet is highly beneficial for our health.

How dry fruits and nuts help in keeping us warm during this season?

  • Keep us warm:
    Dry fruits and nuts like pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews naturally raise the heat in our body. More heat is produced within our system which keeps us warm naturally. We need to be careful about how much heat we let in though, as too much heat can also cause problems in our body. Also, Dry fruits contain more fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrition as compared to any other fresh fruit and hence if made a part of our winter diet can do wonders for us.
  • Rich source of vitamin E:
    Dry fruits and nuts are rich in vitamin E which is a huge requirement of our body. They also keep our cholesterol levels in check and fix our body sugar levels. Dry fruits are good for our heart as well. These natural heat producers work no less than magic in the winter season and can help us cut down a few layers of clothes from our body by providing us with natural warmth.
  • Disease-fighting compounds:
    A handful of nuts are both preventative and therapeutic for the common cold, but we have to eat them whole. A study in the journal Microbiology Letters found that polyphenols disease-fighting compounds found in the skin of the nuts can increase the sensitivity of white blood cells known as helper T cells, which are involved in fighting off viruses. And, like a natural vaccine of sorts, the immunity boost lingered even after the nuts had been digested in the gut.
  • High in Zinc to Help Fight against the cold:
    Although zinc supplements exist, the best way to reap the benefits of this mineral is by infusing it into our daily diet specially with consuming nuts. The mineral is beneficial for a variety of reasons since it contains antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Zinc may work by preventing the rhinovirus (one of the most responsible viruses of common cold) from multiplying. It may also stop the rhinovirus from lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.
  • Dates as common cold fighters:
    Both fresh and dried dates are an excellent source of vitamin C along with vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5 and A1. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps ward off infections and keeps our immunity strong against cold. As an infusion, extract, syrup, or paste, dates are a traditional remedy for sore throats, colds, and bronchial catarrh.
  • Great for a snack:
    Dry fruits are very healthy for our body and are a great alternative to the oily snacks and junk food that we consume day-to-day. They satisfy our food cravings during sick days perfectly and are tasty to eat.

Add these foods in your daily diet and stay healthy!