Strategies to Control Aflatoxin in Groundnut Value Chains
28 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2014
Date Written: August 8, 2014
Groundnuts, which are widely consumed in West Africa, are prone to contamination by aflatoxin during production and storage. Although aflatoxin plays a role in many of the important health risks in developing countries, individuals and governments ignore the risks because their health effects are not immediate. In the developed world strong regulations remove contaminated kernels and their products from the food systems. The objective of this paper is to examine production and marketing practices, particularly grading methods, in Ghana’s groundnut value chain to obtain a clear understanding of the sources and levels of aflatoxin contamination in the crop and how such contamination can be sharply reduced. The study finds that seemingly inferior kernels, which are likely to be contaminated, are indeed sorted out but that the rejects are not taken out of the food system; instead, they are offered to consumers in a crushed form as an ingredient in cooking and flavoring. Testing for aflatoxin confirmed high levels of contamination particularly in products that contained crushed groundnuts. The paper suggests a multipronged strategy suitable for a developing country in which stringent enforcement of regulation may be infeasible.
Keywords: Ghana, West Africa, Africa south of Sahara Africa, Aflatoxins, Mycotoxins, Groundnuts, Quality, Grading, Regulation, Biosafety, Food Safety, Value Chains
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