Aflatoxins are poisonous, mutagenic, and carcinogenic compounds produced by Aspergillus fungi that contaminate various agricultural produce and products including peanut butter. Peanut butter is among the most consumed recipe in The Gambia. Thus, a cross-sectional assessment was conducted to evaluate the levels of aflatoxin contamination in processed peanut butter, sold and consumed locally in the country. In total, 85 peanut butter samples of approximately 2.0 kg each were bought at random within the six administrative regions across the country. All the samples were analyzed for aflatoxin contamination using thin layer chromatography (TLC) technique. Aflatoxin B1 was detected in 8 (9.4%) of the samples and only one (1.20%) of the samples exceeded both the Codex Alimentarius Commission and FAO/WHO Food Standards Program of 15 μg kg-1. Likewise, only 5 of 85 samples representing 5.90% exceeded the European Union maximum limits for total aflatoxin of 4 μg kg-1 in peanut and processed products intended for direct human consumption. The remaining samples (77 of 85) representing 90.6% were negative or without any detectable aflatoxins. The analyzed samples therefore indicate that majority of peanut butter especially homemade is safe for human consumption.
Key words: Aflatoxin B1, peanut butter, thin layer chromatography (TLC), The Gambia.
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