ABSTRACT

Our study evaluated aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) levels in packed rice marketed in Lebanon and determined the exposure to this toxin from rice consumption. A total of 105 packed white, parboiled, and brown rice bags were collected. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure AFB1. A comprehensive food frequency questionnaire was completed by 500 participants to determine patterns of rice consumption and, subsequently, the exposure levels to AFB1 from rice consumption in Lebanon. AFB1 was detected in all rice samples (100%). The average concentration ± standard deviation of AFB1 was 0.5 ± 0.3 μg/kg. Contamination ranged between 0.06 and 2.08 μg/kg. Moisture content in all rice samples was below the recommended percentage (14%). Only 1% of the samples had an AFB1 level above the European Union limit (2 μg/kg). Brown rice had a significantly higher AFB1 level than white and parboiled rice (P = 0.02), while a significant difference was found between both collections for the same brands (P = 0.016). Packing season, packing country, country of origin, presence of a food safety management certification, grain size, and time between packing and purchasing had no significant effect. Exposure to AFB1 from rice consumption in Lebanon was calculated as 0.1 to 2 ng/kg of body weight per day.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mean concentration of AFB1 was 0.5 μg/kg, and contamination was 0.06 to 2.08 μg/kg.

  • AFB1 was detected in all rice samples, and 1% only had an AFB1 level above the EU limit.

  • Brown rice had a significantly higher AFB1 level than white and parboiled rice.

  • A significant difference was found between both collections for the same brands.

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