Aflatoxin in peanut butter is creating even more concern for peanut and peanut butter consumption. Many individuals – especially kids – treat peanut butter and jelly as a staple in their diet, but unfortunately no one told them that peanut butter could actually harness aflatoxin – a cancer-causing chemical almost always found in peanut butter.
Aflatoxin in Peanut Butter – How You Could be Consuming a Carcinogenic Chemical
Aflatoxin is is not naturally found in peanuts, but rather is produced by naturally occurring fungus in soil that peanuts are grown in. Peanuts, unlike many other nuts which are protected by a hard shell, are encased in a soft shell, which makes them vulnerable to contaminates such as fungus. The fungus produces aflatoxin which is easily absorbed by soft-shelled peanuts and if regularly consumed can lead to liver cancer.
It is interesting to note that natural and organic peanut butter often contains higher levels of aflatoxin than commercially processed peanut butter. However, even though organic peanut butter may contain higher levels of aflatoxin, it is still a far better choice than commercially processed peanut butter due to the huge difference in pesticide exposure. While pesticides can cause some damage when sprayed on any crop, peanuts are especially vulnerable compared to other nuts due to their soft shell.
Unfortunately, humans consuming peanuts are not the only ones at risk of exposure to aflatoxin. Pet foods have repeatedly been recalled in the past due to contamination with aflatoxin. In fact, just last December at least 3 pet food recalls were initiated due to aflatoxin levels above the ‘acceptable’ limit. Some of the recalls included:
- Cargill Animal Nutrition
- Procter & Gamble’s Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy dry dog food
- Advanced Animal Nutrition’s Dog Power
Does Aflatoxin in Peanut Butter Make the Food Bad for You?
As mentioned, organic peanut butter should be your first choice when shopping for peanut butter. Even though there may be aflatoxin in peanut butter, there are methods to reducing the absorption of the cancer-causing chemical. The first thing you can do to prevent this problem is buy Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter. Arrowhead Mills grows their peanuts in New Mexico, and aflatoxin has had no recognition there due to extremely dry soil. In addition, it carries the organic label so it is free of harmful pesticides.
To reduce aflatoxin exposure and fungal growth, always refrigerate your peanut butter. By placing your peanut butter in the refrigerator, you are stopping any fungus which may be present from multiplying. Chlorophyll has also been shown to reduce the absorption of aflatoxin which make green vegetables great for decreasing the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxin.