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Avoid Cancer – EASY! The #1 Health Food Everyone Should Avoid (Secretly Toxic)!

By on June 21, 2017
Here’s one carcinogen you’re not aware of.

According to new research from Michigan State University, sunflower seeds are prone to contamination by Aspergillus molds, which produce a toxin called aflatoxin. This toxin is known to increase the risk of liver cancer.

The research, which appears in PLoS One, is one of the first to link this carcinogen to sunflower seeds.

Gale Strasburg, co-author of the study and a Michigan State University food science and human nutrition professor, explains the findings below:

“These high aflatoxin levels, in a commodity frequently consumed by the Tanzanian population, indicate that local authorities must implement interventions to prevent and control aflatoxin contamination along the sunflower commodity value chain, to enhance food and feed safety in Tanzania. Follow-up research is needed to determine intake rates of sunflower seed products in humans and animals, to inform exposure assessments and to better understand the role of sunflower seeds and cakes as a dietary aflatoxin source.”

While sunflower seeds are consumed worldwide, researchers narrowed their focus on Tanzania, an African country where farmers commonly grow them to sell as consumables. Aflatoxin flourishes in humid environments, making this country a prime target for this carcinogen. Juma Mmongoyo, lead author of the study, visited Tanzania in 2014 and 2015 to collect samples of several sunflower seeds in several regions of this country.

While analyzing it, Mmongoyo found that nearly 60 percent of these samples were contaminated with aflatoxin. 14 percent of these seeds exceeded levels considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, over 20 parts per billion. Some samples contained more than several hundred parts per billion, making it a significant health risk.

Next, Mmongoyo analyzed cakes created from sunflower seeds, which are commonly used as animal feed. As it turned out, the contamination worsened, with aflatoxin found in approximately 80 percent of tested samples. This meant that even if people did not consume sunflower seeds, animal meat could become contaminated, something which Tanzanians consume mainly for special occasions.

What This Means For You

Aflatoxin is a known cause behind liver cancer due to its carcinogenic effects–something that makes this level of contamination a serious epidemic. That’s a sentiment shared by study co-author Felicia Wu.

“Billions of people worldwide are exposed to aflatoxin in their diets, particularly in places where food is not monitored regularly for contaminants,” says Wu, an MSU Food Science and Human Nutrition and Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics Hannah Distinguished Professor of Food Science. “Our previous work with the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne disease showed that aflatoxin is one of the chemical contaminants that causes the greatest disease burden worldwide.”

So what can consumers do to reduce this risk in the meanwhile? To keep it simple, avoid consuming sunflower seeds if possible. Another sign of contamination are shriveled, moldy, or discolored seeds. Make sure to only consume fresh nuts and seeds whenever possible to minimize your risk.

Readers: What steps do you take to ensure your food is safe? Let us know in the comment section below!

Sources:
Sunflower Seeds Traced as Source of Toxic Mold, Potential Liver CarcinogenScienceDaily.com
AflatoxinsCancer.gov

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