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Poorly stored food, especially peanuts, almonds and grains, produces molds called aflatoxins, which can cause serious digestive ailments.

Under the concept ofmoldthere are many speciesfungi(including Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium families) that cannot eat on their own, they parasitize on various substrates. You cannot see their spores with the naked eye, as they are very small (2 to 5 microns). Such small size allows them to move freely (eg with gusts of wind) to surfaces that are convenient for them, where they easily nest and quickly grow into a characteristic "sheepskin coat". They feel best at a temperature of 20-30 ° C, but a lower temperature (e.g. in a refrigerator) will not inhibit, but only slow down their growth. It should be noted that the molds themselves are not harmful to humans, but onlymycotoxinsproduced by them. One-time consumption of even a small amount of mold can cause food poisoning with symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea or vomiting.

Important

The fungi of the genus Aspergillus, which are most common on peanuts, almonds, and grains, produce molds called aflatoxins.

More dangerous to he alth, however, is the long-term consumption of over-molded products, as mycotoxins accumulate in the body, may lead to serious complications, and in extreme cases to death. It has been proven that:

  • are carcinogenic (especially they can contribute to the development of liver cancer),
  • are mutagenic
  • damage the fetus (therefore, blue cheese is not recommended for pregnant women as a preventive measure)
  • are immunosuppressive (they weaken the immune system, which may result in the development of allergies).

How to fight mold in food?

As statistics show, the most common sources of mycotoxins in Europe are nuts (mainly peanuts), cereals, dried fruit, fruit juices, meat products and milk. These products are systematically controlled, so that mass poisoning is sporadic. Secondary contamination occurs quite often - caused by poor storage conditions. To prevent them, it is recommended to keep these products dry,in a shaded and cool place until the use-by date, because when it is exceeded, the microflora of the product changes and the development of microorganisms harmful to he alth, including mold.

In practice, there are many methods of combating mold, incl. roasting or refining, however, they are ineffective against mycotoxins. Therefore, throw away products with even slight changes (e.g. in the form of dark spots) as soon as possible. The moldy layer, for example from cheese or jam, must not be removed. Even one contaminated peanut stored in improper conditions can "infect" the others in a short time. Control the surface of the products - it should be smooth and intact. Also check the packaging for the use-by date. For security.

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