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Food Safety Focus (98th Issue, September 2014) – Food Incident Highlight

Aflatoxins in Pistachio from Italy

In early-August, the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) received a notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) of the European Commission that some prepackaged shelled pistachio contaminated with aflatoxins (at 282 μg/kg) from Italy was imported to Hong Kong. This level exceeded the maximum level permitted for pistachio of 15 μg/kg stipulated in the Harmful Substances in Food Regulation (Cap. 132 AF). The CFS immediately contacted the importer concerned, marked-and-sealed the product and subsequently disposed all the imported stock. The CFS also issued a food alert warning the public not to consume the affected product.

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.

Consumers should not consume the concerned product. Affected products should be submitted to the CFS for disposal.

The affected pistachio
The affected pistachio