Melon cake is a non-fermented, traditionally processed food product obtained from melon seeds, and it is consumed as a snack or added to soup. Melon sauce is obtained during the final step of melon cake processing and it is used with melon cake during soup making. This study focused on evaluating the fate of aflatoxin during traditional melon seed processing into melon cake and sauce as a combined product. Shelled melon seeds were purchased from local markets and traditionally processed into melon cake and sauce. Samples were obtained at each processing step and analysed for aflatoxins by LC-MS/MS. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), AFB2, AFG1 and total aflatoxin (sum of AFB1, AFB2 and AFG1) levels in the starting raw material (melon seeds: 39.5, 3.5, 1.97 and 44.9 µg/kg) were reduced by 95, 82, 85 and 94%, respectively, in the finished product (boiled melon cake and sauce) ready for direct consumption. The traditional process of making melon cake and sauce reduced aflatoxin levels below the regulated limits and may lower aflatoxin exposure among melon consumers.
Key words: Aflatoxin, consumer health, food processing, food safety, melon cake, melon sauce.
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