The United States and Tanzania Collaborate to Combat Aflatoxin with AflasafeTZ

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — The U.S. government, in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), announces the availability of AflasafeTZ, an effective technology to reduce aflatoxin contamination in human food and animal feed. The product was developed by IITA and Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, with support from the United States Agency for International Development and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), after nearly six years of research in the country.

AflasafeTZ has been registered by the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute in Tanzania, paving the way for local manufacture and sale. It will help reduce human and livestock health risks and avoid the negative impact of aflatoxins on trade and incomes of smallholder farmers.

Aflatoxins are highly toxic chemicals produced by a common fungus found in soils and crop debris. The fungus (aspergillus flavus) attacks maize and groundnut crops in the field, remains on the harvested foods, and can continue to grow and produce aflatoxins in storage. The toxin can cause cancer, and acute exposure to high levels of the toxin can cause lethal poisoning. At lower levels, it also causes lowered immunity and irreversible stunting in children. Livestock that consume contaminated feed are also affected, and dairy animals consuming contaminated feed can pass aflatoxins in their milk to young animals or humans.

AflasafeTZ uses nontoxic strains of the fungus to out-compete and displace those strains that produce aflatoxin, thus reducing aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts by over 80 percent. The technology was first developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service.