Aflatoxin and ochratoxin A content of spices in Hungary

B. Fazekas, A. Tar, M. Kovács

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In October and November 2004, 91 spice samples (70 ground red pepper, six black pepper, five white pepper, five spice mix and five chilli samples), the majority of which originated from commercial outlets, were analysed for aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2 (AFB1, AFB2, AFG1, AFG2) and ochratoxin A (OTA) content by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) after immunoaffinity column clean-up. Eighteen of the 70 ground red pepper samples contained AFB1, seven of them in a concentration exceeding the 'maximum level' of 5 μg kg-1 (range 6.1-15.7 μg kg-1). Of the other spices assayed, the AFB1 contamination of one chilli sample exceeded 5 μg kg-1 (8.1 μg kg-1). Thirty-two of the 70 ground red pepper samples contained OTA, eight of them in a concentration exceeding the 10 μg kg-1 'maximum level' (range 10.6-66.2 μg kg-1). One chilli sample was contaminated with OTA at 2.1 μg kg-1. The AFB1 and OTA contamination of ground red pepper exceeding the 'maximum level' (5 and 10 μg kg-1, respectively) was obviously the consequence of mixing imported ground red pepper batches heavily contaminated with AFB1 and OTA with red pepper produced in Hungary. This case calls attention to the importance of consistently screening imported batches of ground red pepper for aflatoxin and ochratoxin A content and strictly prohibiting the use of batches containing mycotoxin concentrations exceeding the maximum permitted level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-863
Number of pages8
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2005



  • Aflatoxin
  • Ochratoxin A
  • Spices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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