It is no secret that a lot of food products manufactured contain maize as a prominent ingredient, ranging from flour to cooking oil and more. But unbeknownst to popular belief, grains from humid regions like Rwanda may contain aflatoxin.

If you have got this far you must be wondering what aflatoxin is. Plainly put aflatoxin is a fungal toxin that commonly contaminates maize and other types of crops during production, harvest, storage or processing.

Acute aflatoxin exposure has been known to cause liver failure in severe cases. By now you must be asking yourself how to detect and avoid exposure. In many countries, commercial crops are screened for aflatoxin using modern detection techniques performed in a laboratory setting. Food supplies that test over the regulatory limit are considered unsafe for human consumption and destroyed.

From a consumer’s perspective there are a few habits you can adopt to reduce potential exposure; for starters do not keep grains and nuts stored for a long period of time and if necessary store them in a dry place or freeze them to preserve freshness and prevent mold, secondly, always buy the freshest ingredients at the market when shopping because they have less risk of containing aflatoxins, there is also some evidence that eating detoxifying
vegetables like celery and carrots reduces the effects of aflatoxins and helps cleanse the liver, but most importantly always check if every product you consume is tested for aflatoxins.

These habits will go a long way to reducing risk of exposure to aflatoxins.

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