Watch out for nut mould

In poorly stored food, especially peanuts (peanuts, also called peanuts), almonds and cereal grains, moulds called aflatoxins form, which can cause serious digestive problems.

What is mould

Under the term mould, there are many species of fungi (including the Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium families), which, unable to eat themselves, parasitize on various substrates. You won\’t see their spores with the naked eye because they are very small (between 2 and 5 microns). Such small dimensions provide them with free movement (e.g. with gusts of wind) to surfaces convenient for them, where they easily nest and quickly grow into a characteristic sheepskin-like coat. They feel best at 20-30 degrees celsius, but the lower temperature (e.g. in the fridge) will not inhibit, but will only slow down their growth.

It should be noted that the moulds themselves are not harmful to humans, only the mycotoxins they produce. Single consumption of even a small amount of mould can cause food poisoning, which is manifested in nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting.

Aspergillus mushrooms, most commonly found on peanuts, almonds and cereal grains, produce moulds called aflatoxins.

However, prolonged consumption of mouldy products is more dangerous to health, because mycotoxins accumulate in the body, can lead to serious complications, and in extreme cases to death.

 It has been proven

As statistics show, in Europe, the most common sources of mycotoxins are nuts (mainly peanuts), cereals, dried fruit, fruit juices, meat products and milk. These products are systematically controlled, thanks to which mass poisoning occurs sporadically. Secondary contamination occurs quite often – caused by poor storage conditions. To prevent them, it is recommended to store these products in a dry, shady and cool place until the expiration date, because after exceeding it, the product’s microflora changes and the development of health-threatening microorganisms, including mould, occurs.

In practice, there are many methods of fighting mould, including roasting or refining, however, they are ineffective against mycotoxins. Therefore, throw away products with even small changes as soon as possible (e.g. in the form of dark spots).

Do not remove the mouldy layer, e.g. from cheese or jam. Even one contaminated nut stored in abnormal conditions can infect the others in a short time. Control the surface of products – it should be smooth and intact. Also, check the expiry date on the packaging. For safety.