This study was conducted to determine the occurrence of 16 well-recognized and emerging mycotoxins in black and white sesame seed samples sold in Thailand and to evaluate possible health risks to consumers. Samples were extracted and cleaned with a modified QuEChERS procedure. Multiple mycotoxins in sesame seed samples were analyzed with a validated liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method. The risk of mycotoxin exposure via dietary intake of sesame seeds was evaluated based on the hazard quotient, margin of exposure (MOE), and quantitative liver cancer risk established by European Food Safety Authority, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Health Organization. Of the 200 samples, 21.5% were contaminated with mycotoxins, 19.5% were contaminated with a single mycotoxin, and 2% were contaminated with multiple mycotoxins. Although 9% of total samples were contaminated with aflatoxins (AFs), only one black sesame seed sample and one white sesame seed sample were above the regulatory limits for the European Union (2 μg/kg). The MOE values derived from consumption of black and white sesame seeds were generally <10,000, especially in the group consuming the most. The number of liver cancer cases over a lifetime associated with AFB1 exposure based on the upper bound values for the group consuming high level of black and white sesame seeds (97.5 percentile) was estimated at more than 1 case per one million persons. Therefore, a potential risk to consumer health exists through the consumption of black and white sesame seeds and subsequent exposure to AFB1. However, further evaluation with larger sample sizes is necessary for more accurate calculations. Continuous monitoring of mycotoxin contamination in sesame seeds with risk assessments is recommended.
Beauvericin, sterigmatocystin, and aflatoxins are frequently found in sesame seed samples.
Mycotoxin contamination in most samples was below European Union stipulations.
A potential risk to consumer health exists through consumption of sesame seeds.
Evaluation of mycotoxin contamination is important to maintain consumer safety.