The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

South Africa, Western Cape

Urgent Recall: NCC Flags More Peanut Butter Brands Due to Elevated Aflatoxin Levels

Michael Hawthorne

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has issued a critical alert, urging immediate action from individuals who have purchased specific peanut butter brands. Dischem’s Lifestyle 400 grams Smooth and Crunchy, Dischem’s Lifestyle 800 grams Smooth and Crunchy, Wazoogles Superfoods in all sizes from 32g to 20 KG, Pick n’ Pay’s No Name 1KG Smooth, and Eden All Natural peanut butter brands are implicated in this recall. Customers who have these products in their possession are strongly advised to cease consumption and return them to the point of purchase, with or without proof of purchase, for a full refund.

The affected brands were distributed nationally, with Pick n Pay’s, Eden All Natural, and Dischem’s Lifestyle available across the country, while Wazoogles Superfoods products were primarily distributed in the Western Cape.

The manufacturer, House of Natural Butters (Pty) Ltd, reported to the Commission that all these brands exceeded the legally acceptable levels of Aflatoxin, violating the standards outlined in R1145 Regulation Governing Tolerance of Fungus-Produced Toxins in Foodstuffs. This breach in quality standards renders Lifestyle peanut butter, No Name 1kg Pick n’ Pay, Wazoogles Superfoods, and Eden All Natural peanut butter unsafe for human consumption.

The NCC emphasizes the urgency of this recall to protect public health and encourages affected consumers to act swiftly in returning the products to the point of purchase.

What is Aflatoxins?

Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin produced by certain moulds, has garnered attention due to its potential adverse effects on human health. These moulds, specifically Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, can contaminate crops like peanuts, corn, and tree nuts during cultivation, harvest, and storage. Aflatoxin has several forms, with B1, B2, G1, and G2 being the most common. Among these, Aflatoxin B1 is the most potent and has been linked to various health issues.

When individuals consume food products contaminated with elevated levels of aflatoxin, it poses a serious health risk. Aflatoxin B1, in particular, is known to be a potent carcinogen and is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin can lead to liver damage, immune system suppression, and other health complications. Vulnerable populations, such as children and individuals with compromised immune systems, may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of aflatoxin.

The liver plays a crucial role in detoxifying harmful substances in the body, but aflatoxin overwhelms these natural defence mechanisms. Long-term exposure to high levels of aflatoxin can result in the development of liver tumours and other severe liver diseases. Recognizing the potential health hazards, regulatory bodies establish limits for aflatoxin levels in food products to safeguard public health. The recent recall of multiple peanut butter brands underscores the importance of monitoring and enforcing these standards to prevent the consumption of contaminated products and protect consumers from the associated health risks.

Possible Symptoms of Exposure to Aflatoxin

Exposure to elevated levels of aflatoxin can lead to a range of symptoms, and the severity depends on the duration and amount of exposure. Common symptoms associated with aflatoxin poisoning include:

  1. Liver-related Symptoms:
    • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
    • Abdominal pain or swelling
    • Loss of appetite
    • Persistent fatigue
  2. Gastrointestinal Issues:
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  3. Immune System Suppression:
    • Increased susceptibility to infections
  4. Respiratory Problems:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
  5. Neurological Symptoms (in severe cases):
    • Confusion
    • Coma

It’s important to note that chronic exposure to aflatoxin over an extended period may contribute to the development of more serious health conditions, including liver cancer.

Individuals experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming products potentially contaminated with aflatoxin should seek medical attention promptly.

Additionally, following product recalls and adhering to safety guidelines provided by health authorities can help minimize the risk of aflatoxin-related health issues.


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