Aflatoxins are poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals that are produced by certain molds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains.
They are regularly found in improperly stored staple commodities such as cassava, chili peppers, corn, cotton seed, millet, peanuts, rice, sorghum, sunflower seeds, tree nuts, wheat, and a variety of spices.
When contaminated food is processed, aflatoxins can enter the food chain, ending up in animal feed. These animals fed contaminated food can transmit aflatoxin transformation products to eggs, dairy products and meat..
Children are particularly affected by aflatoxin exposure, which leads to stunted growth, delayed development, liver damage, and liver cancer. Adults have a higher tolerance to exposure, but are also at risk. No animal species is immune. Aflatoxins are among the most carcinogenic substances known.
Aflatoxins are most commonly ingested, but the most toxic type of aflatoxin, B1, can permeate through the skin.