Awareness of mycotoxins and occurrence of aflatoxins in poultry feeds and feed ingredients in selected regions of Uganda
International Journal of Food Contamination
Aflatoxins are a category of mycotoxins produced by certain molds naturally occurring as food and feed contaminants with toxic effects to both animals and humans. In Uganda, previous studies on aflatoxins mainly considered human foods, but scarce information exists for animal feeds. The study aimed at establishing the current status of aflatoxins contamination of poultry feeds, level of awareness and the existing technological challenges and innovations to mycotoxin control in Uganda. Method:
... n Uganda. Method: Mycotoxin awareness, predisposing factors and existing strategies for managing mycotoxin contamination were investigated through focus group discussions and questionnaires with selected processors and farmers. Poultry feed and feed ingredient samples were collected and analyzed for total aflatoxins using VICAM Fluorimeter procedure for foods and animal feeds. Results: Majority of the farmers and processors (> 50%) had limited knowledge about aflatoxins; contamination predisposing factors; dangers to animals and humans; and mitigation strategies. The study further revealed poor feed and feed ingredients handling and storage practices that predispose to mold/aflatoxin contamination. Forty feed samples from feed processing plants had aflatoxins in the range 7.5 ± 0.71 to 393.5 ± 19.09 parts per billion (ppb) with only twelve samples being within the generally acceptable limits of 20 ppb as recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the United States Federal Department of Agriculture. Additionally, all 27 feed samples obtained from the farmers had aflatoxins in the range of 19.0 ± 1.41 to 188.5 ± 2.12 ppb and were above the acceptable limit. Generally, broiler feeds were the most contaminated with aflatoxins. Of the feed ingredients tested, silver fish (Rastrineobola argentea, locally known as "mukene") had the least concentration (8.7 ± 3.18 ppb) of aflatoxins while maize bran had the highest level of contamination, 103.3 ± 22.98 ppb. (Continued on next page) Conclusion: Given the lack of awareness and the high prevalence of aflatoxin contaminated poultry feeds and feed ingredients in Uganda, a higher risk for carryover of the toxins into the animal products for human consumption exist. Hence, the need for comprehensive establishment of the prevention, control and surveillance strategies for reducing mycotoxins in foods.