High levels of potentially cancer-causing toxins detected in Instant Satay Spices: SFA

The SFA is conducting investigations on other products.

Sulaiman Daud | March 15, 2021, 02:02 PM

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) detected high levels of aflatoxins in a food product, "Instant Satay Spices".

It has directed food manufacturer Li Kwong Agencies Co to recall all batches of the product, which is currently ongoing.

What are aflatoxins?

Aflatoxins are poisonous substances produced by certain kinds of moulds that are found naturally worldwide. They can contaminate food crops and pose a "serious threat" to human health, according to the World Health Organisation.

People are exposed to aflatoxins by eating contaminated plant products like groundnuts, or consuming meat or dairy products from animals that ate contaminated feed.

Agricultural workers may also be exposed by inhaling dust during the handling of contaminated crops and feed.

What's the danger associated with aflatoxins?

The SFA found that the levels of aflatoxins in "Instant Satay Spices" exceeded the maximum standards set in the Singapore Food Regulations.

It added that aflatoxins are known to be genotoxic (harming organisms by damaging their genetic material) and carcinogenic (potentially causing cancer).

The U.S. National Cancer Institute states that exposure to aflatoxins carries an increased risk of liver cancer.

What should be done?

The SFA warns that exposure to aflatoxins through food should be kept "as low as possible". It added:

"Consumers who have purchased the implicated product are advised not to consume it. Those who have consumed the implicated product and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice. Consumers may contact their point of purchase for enquiries."

As the manufacturer also processes other peanut products, SFA is conducting further investigations and stepping up checks on its products.

Details of the product can be seen here:

Screenshot from Singapore Food Agency.

Top image from SFA.