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Scandal in China: aflatoxin in some food, also cooking oils

The Chinese government has recalled cooking oil products that were made by three separate companies after discovering high levels of aflatoxin, according to AFP. This latest food safety scandal has raised public outcry, as it closely follows the news that milk from the country’s leading dairy firm, Mengniu, was tainted with aflatoxin as well.

Aflatoxin is a potentially lethal compound produced by fungi that usually grow on whole grains, seeds, spices, and nuts. Exposure occurs primarily through diet, and high levels can cause liver cancer, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

Operations have ceased at the Chinese plants that produced the tainted oil, but it is unknown whether the products reached the market. AFP reports that Mengniu’s contaminated milk was recalled before it was available to consumers, but the Chinese media is already questioning whether the company can survive the public relations disaster.

“EMSL Analytical, Inc. has helped numerous companies and individuals investigate possible food contamination issues,” states Joy DellAringa, M.S., RM (NRM), CFSP, National Food Microbiology Supervisor at EMSL. “Our food division, staffed by experienced and highly regarded microbiologists and chemists, provide a wide range of food testing services, including aflatoxin testing.”

by S. C.
07 january 2012, World News > Asia