Steps to identify aflatoxin M1 in milk

The presence of Aflatoxin M1 in milk is a serious problem for the farmer and for industry. As the Spanish Food Safety Agency, reports, its high toxicity – related to cancer induction and mutagenicity -and the difficulty of its destruction due to its high thermal stability, makes this toxin one of the most complex food safety problems in the sector.

Unfortunately, current weather conditions are increasingly conducive to the growth of the fungi that produces it, which reaches its maximum at 24-28°C. Consequently, it must be carefully controlled at all times. Another fact that must be taken into account is that Aflatoxin M1 is a metabolite of B1, produced when the animal digests food.

The first step industry can take is to perform preventive and systematic control measures for the presence of this toxin in milk. This is relatively simple due to current solutions which provide an analysis in just a few minutes. A small portable measuring device can quantify the concentration of this toxin in milk.

This regular control plan helps identifying any alert. In many cases, the values determined by the test are lower than the legal limit of 50 ppt. Then, it is time to act, first by identifying the farming source through analysis of the individual collection routes; and secondly, by collaborating with farmers to identify the origin of the moulds producing the aflatoxins.

Experience has shown that, when acting at source, by individually analysing each food and food supplement the animal can eat, the problem can be detected in time. Completely removing this ingredient from the diet resolves the presence of aflatoxin M1 in milk.

Pedro Razquin

Pedro Razquin is Owner and CEO at ZEULAB, he is also President of the biotechnology cluster of Aragon. Developing solutions for Food Security.