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Matern Child Nutr. 2012 Oct;8(4):503-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-8709.2011.00337.x. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Strategies to reduce exposure of fumonisins from complementary foods in rural Tanzania.

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Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


Feeding infants with maize can expose them to fumonisin mycotoxins. We assessed fumonisin exposure from complementary foods in rural Tanzania and determined strategies to reduce the exposure. We conducted a cross-sectional study in four villages of Tarakea division, Northern Tanzania. We used a repeat 24-hour dietary recall to collect data of maize consumption as complementary food for 254 infants aged 6-8 months. Fumonisin concentrations in the maize were also estimated. Fumonisin exposure was assessed using @risk analysis software. With the software, several maximum fumonisin contamination and maize consumption patterns were combined in order to determine effective strategies for minimizing fumonisin exposure. Of the infants, 89% consumed maize at amounts up to 158g/person/day (mean; 43g/person/day±28). The maize was contaminated with fumonisins at levels up to 3201µgkg(-1) . Risk of fumonisin intake above the provisional maximum tolerable daily limit of 2µgkg(-1) body weight was 15% (95% confidence interval; 10-19). The risk was minimized when the maximum contamination was set at 150µgkg(-1) . The risk was also minimized when the maximum consumption was set at 20g/child/day while keeping the maximum contamination at the European Union (EU) maximum tolerated limit (MTL) of 1000µgkg(-1) . Considering the economical and technological limitations of adopting good agricultural practices in rural Tanzania, it is practically difficult to reduce contamination in maize to 150µgkg(-1) . We suggest adoption of the EU MTL of 1000µgkg(-1) for fumonisins in maize and reduction, by replacement with another cereal, of the maize component in complementary foods to a maximum intake of 20g/child/day.

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