Not just tough nut to crack, it’s also toxicBy Jocelyn R. Uy |Philippine Daily Inquirer
A food manufacturing firm has pulled out from store shelves a cracker nut product found to contain high levels of an “antinutrient” or harmful toxin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Monday.
In an advisory, the FDA said Food Industries Inc. had recalled its product Nagaraya Cracker Nut Original Butter Flavor (160 grams), with Lot No. 14019, after it was found to contain an “unacceptable level” of aflatoxin.
Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by a mold found in nuts, legumes and seeds.
The recalled peanut product has an expiry date of 01242015F, according to the FDA. It said no other Nagaraya variants and sizes were affected by the recall.
“The recall involves only the specified product under the mentioned lot number,” the FDA said.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the toxin is a naturally occurring contaminant produced by mold that grows on crops, especially peanuts, but it may pose health risks when ingested in large amounts and over an extended period of time.
The FDA allows low levels of exposure to aflatoxins, not going beyond the acceptable limit of 20 parts per billion. Prolonged exposure to the toxin also increases the risk of developing cancer cells.
Aflatoxin is also known as an antinutrient substance that binds proteins, vitamins and minerals and prevents the body from absorbing nutrients. In children, it can stunt growth and cause kwashiorkor, a condition resulting from inadequate protein intake.
Kwashiorkor is a form of malnutrition caused by protein deficiency in the diet, typically affecting young children in the tropics.
The FDA advised consumers who have purchased the recalled product to contact the sales department of Food Industries Inc. through telephone No. 810-0141.
“The public may also send their queries and other concerns to FDA’s official e-mail address email@example.com,” it said.
The agency said it was conducting a continuous monitoring and market surveillance of peanut-based food products sold in the market to ensure the protection of public health.
In January, the FDA warned the public against prepackaged peanuts after samples were found positive for the cancer-causing toxin.
The agency did not identify the tested brands of prepacked peanuts at that time, saying it was still tracing the source of the contamination and whether it occurred in the packaging process or if it started from the raw ingredients.