Disease-causing toxin found in Davao, Gensan rice

Mar. 08, 2008

The government has come up with a stronger campaign to prevent rice, the staple food of Filipinos, from being contaminated with aflatoxin.

In a press conference, Dr. Anthony Sales, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) regional head of the technology transfer section, announced that he had studied rice samples from Digos City, Toril in Davao City, General Santos City and Sultan Kudarat. He said he found the samples were positive for aflatoxin at .5 ppb (parts per billion). The United States Food and Drugs Authority (US FDA) fixes the tolerance level of humans for the chemical is at 2 ppb or 2 grams for every 1 million kilograms.

The US FDA defines aflatoxin as toxic compounds produced by certain strains of the Aspergillus fungus; it is toxic and carcinogenic. Exposure to high level of alfatoxin, according to Dr. Sales, produces acute necrosis or tissue death, as well as cirrhosis and carcinoma of the liver.

Dr. Sales admonished rice producers to follow post harvest technology that would include proper storage and processing. He bared that most of the warehouses in the region are dilapidated and rice stocks are not stored properly. He said the rice should be dried thoroughly and stored in a dry place. He reminds that molds will set in if the rice is exposed to moisture.

“Rice after harvesting must be dried properly and stored in a dry place to safeguard the products from developing contaminants,” he said.(PIA)

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