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Food Safety Focus (123rd Issue, October 2016) – Food Incident Highlight

Aflatoxins in Mooncakes

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has conducted further testing on a local brand of mooncakes after the Macau authorities announced that aflatoxins detected in mooncake samples of the brand exceeded Macau's recently adopted standard. None of the local samples tested by CFS had aflatoxin levels exceeded the local or Macau limits.

Aflatoxins are a group of toxic compounds produced by some moulds of the Aspergillus species under favourable temperature and humidity. They are more commonly found in peanuts, tree nuts, corn, etc. Aflatoxins are potent human carcinogens, and are associated with liver cancer. As mooncakes are festive food, usual consumption of mooncakes containing aflatoxins at regulatory levels is unlikely to increase the food safety risk significantly.

The trade should ensure food ingredients and products comply with safety standards and maintain good storage conditions. The public is advised to maintain a balanced and varied diet so as to avoid excessive exposure to aflatoxins from a small range of food items. Discard foods that look mouldy.