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Definition Aflatoxins are toxins produced by a mold that grows on crops, such as peanuts, tree nuts, corn, wheat, and oil seeds (like cottonseed). Although aflatoxins are known to cause cancer (carcinogenic) in animals, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) allows them at low levels because they are considered "unavoidable contaminants" of these foods. To help minimize risk, the FDA tests foods that may contain aflatoxin. Peanuts and peanut butter are some of the most rigorously tested products by FDA because they frequently contain aflatoxins and are widely consumed. The FDA believes the occasional consumption of small amounts of aflatoxin pose little risk over a lifetime. It is not practical to attempt to remove aflatoxin from contaminated food products in order to make them edible. You can reduce aflatoxin intake by:
  • Buying only major brands of nuts and nut butters.
  • Discarding any nuts that look moldy, discolored or shriveled.
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