The Evaluation of Aflatoxin Contamination in Various Foods in Iran: a Review

Document Type: Review Article


1 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Nutrition, Faculty of medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: Aflatoxins are secondary fungal metabolites produced by Aspergillus fungi, in particular Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus nomius and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxins have undesirable effects on human and animal health and lead to various diseases, including liver disorders. Four main types of aflatoxin are B1, B2, G1 and G2, and aflatoxin M1 and M2 are metabolites derived from aflatoxins B1 and B2. Materials and Methods: In this paper, studies on aflatoxin contamination in different foods were investigated. Keywords for related articles include: Aflatoxin, Iran, Incidence, Food, Oil, Milk and Dairy Products. Articles were obtained from SID, Science direct, PubMed and Google scholar databases. Abstract of all related articles were reviewed and finally, articles which mentioned to the amount of aflatoxin were selected.Results: Results showed the presence of aflatoxins in most of the tested food. In most studies conducted on milk and various dairy products, the level of aflatoxin was higher than the recommended level set by the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran and the European Union. Conclusion(s): Practical management and control strategies are necessary for assurance of the safety of consumers regarding aflatoxin residue in different foods in Iran.


1.  SS, Deshpande., Handbook of Food Toxicology. Mercel Dekker: New York, 2002; pp 390-411.

2.  Tabari M., T. K., Tabari O., Occurrence of Aflatoxin M1 in Pasteurized Doogh Commercialized in Tehran, Iran. Aust. J. Basic & Appl. Sci2011, 5(12), 1734-1737.

3.  Roigé, M. B.; Aranguren, S. M.; Riccio, M. B.; Pereyra, S.; Soraci, A. L.; Tapia, M. O., Mycobiota and mycotoxins in fermented feed, wheat grains and corn grains in Southeastern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Revista Iberoamericana de Micología 2009, 26 (4), 233-237.

4.  Williams JH, P. T., Jolly PE, Stiles JK, Jolly CM, Aggarwal D, Human aflatoxicosis in developing countries: a review of toxicology, exposure, potential health consequences, and interventions. Am J Clin Nutr 2004, 80(5), 1106.

5.  Mejía-Teniente, L.; Chapa-Oliver, A. M.; Vazquez-Cruz, M. A.; Torres-Pacheco, I.; Guevara-González, R. G., Aflatoxins biochemistry and molecular biology-biotechnological approaches for control in crops. In Aflatoxins-Detection, Measurement and Control, InTech: 2011.

6.  Lee, J., Her, J.-Y., Lee, K.-G.,, An Observational signal of the void shape correlation and its link to the cosmic web. Food Chem. 2015, 189, 45-51.

7.   Oteiza, J. M., Khaneghah, A. M., Campagnollo, F. B., Granato, D., Mahmoudi, M. R., Sant’Ana, A. S.,; Gianuzzi, L., Influence of production on the presence of patulin and ochratoxin A in fruit juices and wines of Argentina. LWT - Food Sci. Technol 2017, 51, 148-157.

8.  Nazari Khorasgani, Z.; Kalantari, H.; Kalantari, G., Evaluation of aflatoxins contamination in baby food supplements ( Mamana & Ghoncheh) Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod2011, 6 (1), 42-50.

9.  Van de Perre, E., Jacxsens, L., Lachat, C., El Tahan, F., De Meulenaer, B.,, Impact of maximum levels in European legislation on exposure of mycotoxins in dried products: Case of aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A in nuts and dried fruits. Food Chem. Toxicol. 2015, 75, 112-117.

10.  Goldblatt, L. A., A Series of monographs. Food Sci Technol1976, 12(4), 16-19, 261-275,358-415.

11.  Dhanasekaran, D.; Shanmugapriya, S.; Thajuddin, N.; Panneerselvam, A., Aflatoxins and aflatoxicosis in human and animals. In Aflatoxins-Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, InTech: 2011.

12.   N.S. Garrido, M. H. I., M.R. Santos Ortolani and R.M. Duarte Fa´ varo, Occurrence of aflatoxins M1 and M2 in milk commercialized in Ribeira˜ o Preto-SP, Brazil. Food Addit Contam2003, 20 (1), 70–73.

13.  Commission of the European Communities (CET), Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs. In L346,, O. L. EU, 2006a.

14.  Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI), Food and Feed Mycotoxins- Maximum Tolerated level. 2012.

15. Moss, M. O., Risk assessment for afatoxins in foodstufs. I Int Biodeterior Biodegradation 2002, 50, 137-142.

16.  (WHO)., W. H. O., Safety Evaluation of Certain Food Additives and Contaminants. Series No. 40.

17.  Pattono D, G. P., Civera T, Detection and quantification of ochratoxin A in milk produced in organic farms. Food Chem 2011, 127(1), 374-377.

18. Lee D, L. K., Analysis of aflatoxin M1 and M2 in commercial dairy products using high-performance liquid chromatography with a fluorescence detector. Food Control 2015, 50, 467 - 471.

19.  Blanco JL, D. L., Gómez-Lucía E, et al, Presence of aflatoxin M1 in commercial ultra high temperature treated milk. Appl Environ Microbiol 54, 1622-1623.

20.  Battacone G, N. A., Palomba M, et al, The transfer of aflatoxin M1 in milk of ewes fed diet naturally contaminated by aflatoxins and effect of inclusion of dried yeast culture in the diet. J Dairy Sci 2009, 92, 4997-5004.

21.  Fallah, A. A., Assessment of aflatoxin M1 contamination in pasteurized and UHT milk marketed in central part of Iran. Food Chem. Toxicol2010, 48, 988–991.

22.  Anukul, N.; Vangnai, K.; Mahakarnchanakul, W., Significance of regulation limits in mycotoxin contamination in Asia and risk management programs at the national level. J Food Drug Anal 2013, 21 (3), 227-241.

23. omyae, s. T., Food And Nutritional Toxicology. Tehran University: 2011; Vol. 1.

24.   (FAO), F. a. A. O. o. t. U. N., Worldwide Regulations for Mycotoxins in Food and Feed in 2003. FAO, Rome (2004) 2004, 17-82.

25.   Feizy, J.; Beheshti, H. R.; Asadi, M., Ochratoxin A and aflatoxins in dried vine fruits from the Iranian market. Mycotoxin Res2012, 28 (4), 237-242.

26.  Beheshti, H. R.; Asadi, M., Aflatoxins in sunflower and safflower seeds from Iran. Food Addit Contam: Part B 2013, 6 (1), 68-71. 

27.  Hosseininia, A. R.; Vahabzadeh, M.; Rashedinia, M.; Riahi-Zanjani, B.; Karimi, G., A survey of aflatoxins in sesame seeds imported into Khorasan Province, Iran. Mycotoxin Res2014, 30 (1), 43-46.

28.  Fakoor Janati, S. S.; Beheshti, H. R.; Khoshbakht Fahim, N.; Feizy, J., Aflatoxins and Ochratoxinin A in Bean from Iran. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol2011, 87 (2), 194-197.

29. Mahmoudi, R.; Norian, R., Aflatoxin B1 and M1 contamination in cow feeds and milk from Iran. Food Agric Immunol2015, 26 (1), 131-137.

31.  Saheb Ghalam Haleh, M. S. A., Mehraban, Atash Massoumeh, Biological Degradation of Aflatoxin B1 by Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast in animal feed. J Sci Technol. 1392, 5 (3), 99-104.

32.  f.Dastmalchi, survey and determination of aflatoxin in iranian wheat of canvas covered store and variation of them after storage. J Biol Sci2008, 3 (8), 837-840.

33. Chelkowski, J.; Goliński, P.; Godlewska, B.; Radomyska, W.; Szebiotko, K.; Wiewiorowska, M., Mycotoxins in cereal grain. Part IV. Inactivation of ochratoxin A and other mycotoxins during ammoniation. Mol Nutr Food Res1981, 25 (7), 631-637.

34.  Namjoo, M.; Salamat, F.; Rajabli, N.; Hajihoseeini, R.; Niknejad, F.; Kohsar, F.; Joshaghani, H., Quantitative determination of aflatoxin by high performance liquid chromatography in wheat silos in Golestan province, north of Iran. Iran j public health 2016, 45 (7), 905.

35.  Yazdanpanah, H.; Zarghi, A.; Shafaati, A. R.; Foroutan, S. M.; Aboul-Fathi, F.; Khoddam, A.; Nazari, F.; Shaki, F., Analysis of aflatoxin B1 in Iranian foods using HPLC and a monolithic column and estimation of its dietary intake. Iran J Pharm Res: IJPR 2013, 12 (Suppl), 83.

36.  Azizi, I. G.; Rouhi, S., The comparison of total fumonisin and total aflatoxin levels in biscuit and cookie samples in Babol City, Northern Iran. Iran public health 2013, 42 (4), 422.

37.  Hashemi, M.; Azizi, I. G.; Rezai, Z.; Rouhi, S., Mycological survey and total aflatoxin analyze in silage from Qaemshahr City (Northern Iran). Journal of Chemical Health Risks 2012, 2 (2).

38. Taheri, N.; Semnani, S.; Roshandel, G.; Namjoo, M.; Keshavarzian, H.; Chogan, A.; Kebria, F. G.; Joshaghani, H., Aflatoxin contamination in wheat flour samples from Golestan Province, Northeast of Iran. Iran public health 2012, 41 (9), 42.

39.  Mottaghianpour, E.; Nazari, F.; Mehrasbi, M. R.; Hosseini, M.-J., Occurrence of aflatoxin B1 in baby foods marketed in Iran. J. Sci. Food Agric2017, 97 (9), 2690-2694.

40.  Noori, K., A study on market distortions and its effects on rice supply, demand and import in Iran. Pajouhesh and Sazandegi 2007.

41.  Nazari, F.; Sulyok, M.; Yazdanpanah, H.; Kobarfard, F.; Krska, R., A survey of mycotoxins in domestic rice in Iran by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Toxicol. Mech2014, 24 (1), 37-41.

42.  Peraica, M.; Radic, B.; Lucic, A.; Pavlovic, M., Toxic effects of mycotoxins in humans. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1999, 77 (9), 754-766.

43.Mosayebi, M.; Mirzaee, H., Determination of mycotoxin contamination and heavy metals in edible rice imported to Golestan Province. Iranian J Environ Health Sci Eng 2014, 6 (4), 503-514.

44.  Karajibani, M.; Merkazee, A.; Montazerifar, F., Determination of aflatoxin in the imported rice in Zahedan, South-East of Iran, 2011. Health scope 2013, 2 (3), 125-129.

45.  Rahmani, A.; Soleimany, F.; Hosseini, H.; Nateghi, L., Survey on the occurrence of aflatoxins in rice from different provinces of Iran. Food Addit Contam: Part B 2011, 4 (3), 185-190.

46.  Mazaheri, M., Determination of aflatoxins in imported rice to Iran. Food Chem Toxicol2009, 47 (8), 2064-2066.

47.   Soubra, L.; Sarkis, D.; Hilan, C.; Verger, P., Occurrence of total aflatoxins, ochratoxin A and deoxynivalenol in foodstuffs available on the Lebanese market and their impact on dietary exposure of children and teenagers in Beirut. Food Addit Contam2009, 26 (2), 189-200.

48.  Ostadrahimi, A.; Ashrafnejad, F.; Kazemi, A.; Sargheini, N.; Mahdavi, R.; Farshchian, M.; Mahluji, S., Aflatoxin in raw and salt-roasted nuts (pistachios, peanuts and walnuts) sold in markets of Tabriz, Iran. Jundishapur J Microbiol2014, 7 (1).

49.  HajiMohammadi, B.; Ehrampoush, M. H.; Hashemi, S.; Khalatbari, L. S.; Zare, F.; Taheri, S. M., The Effect of Electron Irradiation on Aflatoxin B1 in Pistachio Production Process Inoculated with Aspergillus Flavus. 2017.

50.  Jubeen, F.; Bhatti, I. A.; Khan, M. Z.; Zahoor-Ul, H.; Shahid, M., Effect of UVC irradiation on aflatoxins in ground nut (Arachis hypogea) and tree nuts (Juglans regia, Prunus duclus and Pistachio vera). J. Chem. Soc. Pak 2012, 34 (6), 1366.

51.   Heshmati, A.; Zohrevand, T.; Khaneghah, A. M.; Nejad, A. S. M.; Sant’Ana, A. S., Co-occurrence of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in dried fruits in Iran: Dietary exposure risk assessment. Food Chem Toxicol 2017, 106, 202-208.

52.  Habibipour, R.; Tamandegani, P. R.; Farmany, A., Monitoring of aflatoxin G1, B1, G2, and B2 occurrence in some samples of walnut. Environ Monit Assess2016, 188 (12), 669.

53.   Akbar, R. M.; Nasrin, A., Aflatoxin occurrence in nuts consumed in Arak, Iran. Int J Food Nutr Saf 2013, 4 (2), 91-7.

54.   Dini, A.; Khazaeli, P.; Roohbakhsh, A.; Madadlou, A.; Pourenamdari, M.; Setoodeh, L.; Askarian, A.; Doraki, N.; Farrokhi, H.; Moradi, H., Aflatoxin contamination level in Iran's pistachio nut during years 2009–2011. Food Control 2013, 30 (2), 540-544.

55. Janati, S. S. F.; Beheshti, H. R.; Asadi, M.; Mihanparast, S.; Feizy, J., Preliminary survey of aflatoxins and ochratoxin A in dried fruits from Iran. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol2012, 88 (3), 391-395.

56.  Oveisi, M.-R.; Jannat, B.; Sadeghi, N.; Hajimahmoodi, M.; Nikzad, A., Presence of aflatoxin M1 in milk and infant milk products in Tehran, Iran. Food Control 2007, 18 (10), 1216-1218.

57. Battacone, G.; Nudda, A.; Palomba, M.; Mazzette, A.; Pulina, G., The transfer of aflatoxin M1 in milk of ewes fed diet naturally contaminated by aflatoxins and effect of inclusion of dried yeast culture in the diet. Journal of Dairy Science 2009, 92 (10), 4997-5004.

58. Prandini, A.; Tansini, G.; Sigolo, S.; Filippi, L.; Laporta, M.; Piva, G., On the occurrence of aflatoxin M 1 in milk and dairy products. Food Chem Toxicol2009, 47 (5), 984-991.

59.   Shahbazi, Y.; Nikousefat, Z.; Karami, N., Occurrence, seasonal variation and risk assessment of exposure to aflatoxin M 1 in Iranian traditional cheeses. Food Control 2017, 79, 356-362.

60. Sharifzadeh, A.; Ghasemi-Dehkordi, P.; Foroughi, M.; Mardanpour-Shahrekordi, E.; Ramazi, S., Aflatoxin M1 contamination levels in cheeses sold in Isfahan Province, Iran. Osong Public Health Res Perspect 2017, 8 (4), 260.

61.  Hashemi, M., A survey of aflatoxin M1 in cow milk in Southern Iran. J Food Drug Anal 2016, 24 (4), 888-893.

62.  Fallah, A. A.; Fazlollahi, R.; Emami, A., Seasonal study of aflatoxin M1 contamination in milk of four dairy species in Yazd, Iran. Food Control 2016, 68, 77-82.

63.  Bahrami, R.; Shahbazi, Y.; Nikousefat, Z., Aflatoxin M 1 in milk and traditional dairy products from west part of Iran: occurrence and seasonal variation with an emphasis on risk assessment of human exposure. Food Control 2016, 62, 250-256.

64.  Sohrabi, N.; Gharahkoli, H., A seasonal study for determination of aflatoxin M1 level in dairy products in Iranshahr, Iran. Current Med Mycol 2016, 2 (3), 27.

65.  Nikbakht, M. R.; Lachiniyan, S.; Rahbar, S.; Oubari, F.; Rostami, Z.; Tajehmiri, A., Aflatoxin M1 Contamination in Traditional Yoghurts Produced in Guilan Province, Iran. AJPRHC2016, 8 (1), 1-3.

66.  M Sarabi-Jamab, F. T. a. N. A., Assessment of Bifidobacterium bifidum ability to adsorption of Aflatoxin M1 in probiotic yoghurt. Research journal Food industry 2016, 2, 149-162.

67. Moeinian, K.; Yaghmaeian, K.; Ghorbani, R., Aflatoxin M1 concentration in raw milk produced in the cities of Semnan province-Iran. Koomesh 2014, 176-181.

68. Rahimi, E., Survey of the occurrence of aflatoxin M1 in dairy products marketed in Iran. Toxicol Ind Health 2014, 30 (8), 750-754.

69.  Behfar, A.; Khorasgani, Z. N.; Alemzadeh, Z.; Goudarzi, M.; Ebrahimi, R.; Tarhani, N., Determination of Aflatoxin M1 levels in produced pasteurized milk in Ahvaz City by using HPLC. Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod2012, 7 (2), 80.

70. Mohajeri, F. A.; Ghalebi, S. R.; Rezaeian, M.; Gheisari, H. R.; Azad, H. K.; Zolfaghari, A.; Fallah, A. A., Aflatoxin M 1 contamination in white and Lighvan cheese marketed in Rafsanjan, Iran. Food control 2013, 33 (2), 525-527.

71. Darsanaki, R. K.; Aliabadi, M. A.; Chakoosari, M. M. D., Aflatoxin M1 contamination in ice-cream. Journal of Chemical Health Risks 2013, 3 (1).

72. Tavakoli, H. R.; Riazipour, M.; Kamkar, A.; Shaldehi, H. R.; Nejad, A. S. M., Occurrence of aflatoxin M 1 in white cheese samples from Tehran, Iran. Food Control 2012, 23 (1), 293-295.

73. Nilchian, Z.; Rahimi, E., Aflatoxin M1 in Yoghurts, Cheese and Ice-Cream in Shahrekord-Iran. World Appl Sci J2012, 19 (5), 621-624.

74.  Aliabadi, M. A.; Issazadeh, K.; Darsanaki, R. K.; Rokhi, M. L.; Amini, A., Determination of aflatoxin M1 levels in 1 white cheese samples by ELISA in Gilan province, Iran. province, Iran. Glob Vet2012, 9 (1), 28-31.

75.  Khoshnevis, S.; Gholampour Azizi, I.; Shateri, S.; Mousavizadeh, M., Determination of the aflatoxin M1 in ice cream in Babol City (Northern, Iran). province, Iran. Glob Vet2012, 8 (2), 205-8.

76. Rahimi, E.; Nilchian, Z.; Behzadnia, A., Presence of aflatoxin M1 in pasteurized and UHT milk commercialized in Shiraz, Khuzestan and Yazd, Iran. Journal of Chemical Health Risks 2012, 1 (1).

77.  Panahi, P.; Kasaee, S.; Mokhtari, A.; Sharifi, A.; Jangjou, A., Assessment of aflatoxin M1 contamination in raw milk by ELISA in Urmia, Iran. AEJTS2011, 3 (4), 231-233.

78.Fallah, A. A.; Rahnama, M.; Jafari, T.; Saei-Dehkordi, S. S., Seasonal variation of aflatoxin M 1 contamination in industrial and traditional Iranian dairy products. Food Control 2011, 22 (10), 1653-1656.

79. Nemati, M.; Mehran, M. A.; Hamed, P. K.; Masoud, A., A survey on the occurrence of aflatoxin M1 in milk samples in Ardabil, Iran. Food control 2010, 21 (7), 1022-1024.

80. Rahimi, E.; Bonyadian, M.; Rafei, M.; Kazemeini, H., Occurrence of aflatoxin M1 in raw milk of five dairy species in Ahvaz, Iran. Food Chem Toxicol2010, 48 (1), 129-131.

81. Heshmati, A.; Milani, J. M., Contamination of UHT milk by aflatoxin M 1 in Iran. Food Control 2010, 21 (1), 19-22.

82. Fallah, A. A., Assessment of aflatoxin M1 contamination in pasteurized and UHT milk marketed in central part of Iran. Food Chem Toxicol2010, 48 (3), 988-991.

83. Tavakoli, H.; Riazipour, M.; Rafati, H.; Naghavi, S.; Rostami, H.; Saghazadeh, M., Aflatoxin M1 Contamination of Pasteurized Cheese Produced by Two Dairy Factories in Tehran, Assessed by ELISA Technique. 2011.

84.         Fallah, A. A., Aflatoxin M 1 contamination in dairy products marketed in Iran during winter and summer. Food control 2010, 21 (11), 1478-1481.

85.         Sani, A. M.; Nikpooyan, H.; Moshiri, R., Aflatoxin M 1 contamination and antibiotic residue in milk in Khorasan province, Iran. Food Chem Toxicol2010, 48 (8), 2130-2132.

86. Mohammadian, B.; Khezri, M.; Ghasemipour, N.; Mafakheri, S.; Langroudi, P. P., Aflatoxin M1 contamination of raw and pasteurized milk produced in Sanandaj, Iran. Archives of Razi Institute 2010, 65 (2), 99-104.

87.  Fallah, A. A.; Jafari, T.; Fallah, A.; Rahnama, M., Determination of aflatoxin M1 levels in Iranian white and cream cheese. Food Chem Toxicol2009, 47 (8), 1872-1875.

88.  Sefidgar, S.; Azizi, G.; Khosravi, A.; Roudbar-Mohammadi, S., Presence of Aflatoxin M1 in raw milk at cattle farms in Babol, Iran. PJBS 2008, 11 (3), 484-486.