High aflatoxin in groundnut paste on the market worrying – Research Scientist


The National Coordinator of the Aflatoxin Bio-control Program for Ghana at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture IITA, Dr Daniel Agbetiameh, has expressed grave concern about the high rate of aflatoxins in groundnut paste on the market.


Groundnuts, maize, sorghum and other cereals, which are widely consumed in West Africa, are prone to contamination by aflatoxin during production and storage.


Dr. Agbetiameh explains there is danger in consuming cereals that contain too much Aflatoxin content.


He added that Aflatoxin has harmful effects like liver damage, cancer and growth in stunts, and also affects the male sexual reproductive system and causes miscarriages.


He said this at the opening of a week-long sensitization workshop organized for extension agents in the country, funded by AGRA and IITA.


The workshop seeks to offer extension agents first-hand experience and information on Aflatoxin’s effect on human lives and how they can communicate the information gained onto the field of operation.


It was revealed that aflatoxin is high in groundnut pastes on the market.


The results of aflatoxin testing of groundnuts from the open market revealed 112 and 183 parts per billion (ppb) which was way above the regulated standards set by the GSA standard which is 10 ppb and that of the European Union standard of 4 ppb.


According to Dr Agbetiameh, this must be a major concern for all.


He observed a weak check and balance system within the food value chain – from the farm to the final consumer.


That notwithstanding, the responsible authorities, especially the Food and Drugs Authority and Standard Authority need the requisite logistics for routine market surveillance.



Dr Agbetiameh is therefore appealing to the government to adequately resource these institutions to enable them to act swiftly.


Meanwhile, there are no offices of FDA and GSA at the District levels for early detection of aflatoxins.


It would be prudent for the country to acquire more testing kits to assist in checking the aflatoxin level on groundnut, maize and sorghum before getting to the final consumer.

Richmond Frimpong

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