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Ministry downplays concerns on aflatoxin contamination

Posted in Food Safety, Regulatory & GMOs

ETHIOPIA - Ethiopia did not have its own aflatoxin contamination standards on milk but has used American standards on the issue.

The Livestock and Fishery Development Ministry announced that there is no aflatoxin contamination of milk in the city. Ethiopia uses American aflatoxin contamination of milk standard, 0.5 mg/L.

But Ethiopia's aflatoxin contamination of milk is on average 0.41 mg/L. The milk is hence healthy and could be used without any concerns or risks of contamination.

In a press conference aimed at clearing the current confusion on the alleged contamination of the milk production here in Addis, State Minister of Livestock and Fishery Dr. Gebregziabher Gebre-Yohannes said that Ethiopia did not have its own aflatoxin contamination standards on milk but has used American standards on the issue.

And our aflatoxin contamination of the milk here is less than the American standards.

Hence the society should not be confused by wrong rumours and news disseminated by some media outlets. According to the European Union (EU) milk aflatoxin contamination limit should not be over the 0.05 mg/l.

But American Aflatoxin standards is 0.5 mg/l.

"Our milk comes from very smallholder farmers. This does not mean that aflatoxin exists in all milk cows. Farmers' exposure to aflatoxin contamination of milk in Ethiopia is low."

Principal Scientist LIVES Project Manager Dr. Azage Tegegne said, "Our study finding was wrongly understood and exaggerated and disseminated by various media.

The study was conducted in Addis Ababa and its surroundings, limited to farmers and milk collectors and fodder traders.

But among the four animal fodder, the results indicated that niger seed cake, which is widely used as dairy cattle feed, showed that as a source of aflatoxin contamination in the peri-urban dairy value chain of Addis Ababa, is a result of improper management of the feed.

November 15, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201511130470.html