Infant Feeding and Exposure to Aflatoxins

Publication Year: 2016
Author: Alyson Young

INGENAES Technical Note

Aflatoxins play an important role in household health and nutrition. 

Aflatoxins are fungal toxins produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aspergillus is a common form of mold that can colonize and contaminate food before harvest or during storage, especially following a drought or prolonged exposure to a high-humidity environment. 

Aflatoxin exposure in children can lead to stunted growth, developmental delays, and issues with immune suppression and increased susceptibility to infectious disease. Longer-term exposure to aflatoxins increases the risk for liver and gallbladder cancer. Factors that increase the risk of aflatoxicosis include limited amounts of food, environmental conditions that favor mold growth on food, and limited regulation and oversight for aflatoxin monitoring and control.