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Appl Microbiol. 1975 Jan;29(1):48-53.

Incidence of aflatoxin in California almonds.


In a survey of California almonds, aflatoxin was found in 14% of 74 samples of unsorted, in-shell almonds as received by the processor in 1972, but it occurred at very low levels (below 20 parts per billion (ppb)) in 90% of the contaminated samples. The overall proportion of individual nuts contaminated was especially low and is estimated with 95% probability to have been in the range of 1 nut/55,300 nuts to 1 nut/14,700 nuts. Aflatoxin contamination is not restriced to any particular section of the almond-growing region of California. Commercial sorting procedures are effective in removing most aflatoxin-contaminated nutmeats, since none of 26 samples of processed, whole nutmeats contained aflatoxin. In contrast, 13 of 27 samples of diced almonds were contaminated, but nine of these 13 samples contained less than 20 ppb. Only one of 25 samples of sliced nutmeats contained aflatoxin (4 ppb). Thus, aflatoxin incidence in almonds varies greatly with the category of finished product. The apparent high incidence in diced nutmeats is probably due mostly to the more uniform distribution of aflatoxin occurring in this product (because of its small particle size) than that occurring in the other products. Sample size requirements for monitoring aflatoxin in almonds are discussed.

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