We Want “Toxin-Free” Milk!

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

By Yip See Chung


It’s not just protein!

Milk is defined as the liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals to nourish their young for a period beginning immediately after birth. The milk of domesticated animals is also an important food source for humans, either as a fresh fluid or processed into a number of dairy products such as butter and cheese. 1

Milk provides essential nutrients and is an important source of dietary energy, high-quality proteins and fats. Milk can make a significant contribution to the required nutrient intakes for calcium, magnesium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and B12 (cobalamin).2


Worldwide Consumption Of Milk

More than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products; the majority of these people live in developing countries. Since the early 1960s, per capita milk consumption in developing countries has increased almost two-fold.3

Per capita milk consumption is:

  • High (more than 150 kg/capita/year) in Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Costa Rica, Europe, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, North America and Pakistan;
  • Medium (30 to 150 kg/capita/year) in India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, North and Southern Africa, most of the Near East and most of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Low (less than 30 kg/capita/year) in Vietnam, Senegal, most of Central Africa and most of East and Southeast Asia3

Milk provides 3 to 4 percent of dietary energy supply in Africa and Asia, compared with 9 percent in Europe and Oceania. Milk provides 6 to 8 percent of dietary protein supply in Africa and Asia, compared with 19 percent in Europe; and 7 percent of dietary fat supply in Africa and Asia, compared with 12 to 14 percent in Europe, Oceania and the Americas.3


Detection Of Natural Toxins In Milk

Although milk provides several health benefits to human health, it is important to be aware of the danger of potential natural toxins found in milk, particularly mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of molds (fungi). Molds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. Mold growth can occur either before harvest or after harvest, during storage, on/in the food itself often under warm, damp and humid conditions. Most mycotoxins are chemically stable and survive food processing.4

Several hundreds of different mycotoxins have been identified in foodstuffs. Commonly observed mycotoxins that present a concern to human health and livestock include aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, fumonisins, zearalenone and nivalenol/deoxynivalenol. Aflatoxins are one of the most poisonous mycotoxins and are produced by certain molds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. Crops that are frequently affected by several species of Aspergillus include cereals, oilseeds, spices and tree nuts. The toxins can also be found in the milk of animals that are fed with contaminated feed, in the form of aflatoxin M1. The concern arises for humans who consume animal milk as large doses of aflatoxins can lead to acute poisoning (aflatoxicosis) and can even be life threatening, usually through damage to the liver.5 Aflatoxins have also been shown to be genotoxic, meaning they can damage DNA.6 There is also evidence that aflatoxins can cause liver cancer in humans.7

To help reduce the risk of aflatoxins to humans who consume animal milk, scientists at SCIEX have developed a targeted quantitative method to determine the concentration of aflatoxin M1 in milk using the QTRAP 4500 system. A simple sample preparation method was also developed for extraction of milk samples.8


Quantification Of Aflatoxin M1 In Milk Using The QTRAP 4500 System

Get technical note

References of Content

6R.J. Verma (2004) Aflatoxin Cause DNA Damage, International Journal of Human Genetics, 4:4, 231-236





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