On a sunny afternoon, one would like to relax with a cold bottle of ‘brukina’ (or bokina), a dairy milk and millet mixture.
But have you thought about what’s in this meal?
According to a study conducted by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research at the University of Ghana, some samples of ‘brukina,’ as well as the millet and dairy milk used to prepare it, contain unacceptable levels of aflatoxins, which can cause cancer after long-term consumption.
The findings were published in Ghana Medical Journal.Aflatoxins are a class of highly toxic substances produced by the Aspergillus fungus.The study sought to investigate aflatoxin levels in ‘brukina.’
For the study, ‘brukina’ samples were purchased monthly from ‘brukina’ producers over a 7-month period.
To be tested, twenty-one samples were collected from each site in Accra, Nima and Ashaiman.After testing, the scientists discovered that 1 sample from Ashaiman and 2 samples from Nima had aflatoxin (AFB1) levels that were above the acceptable limit.
Twelve (12) dairy milk samples from Ashaiman and ten (10) from Nima had aflatoxin (AFM1) levels that exceeded the acceptable limit.Some of the ‘brukina’ samples tested positive for aflatoxin, and all levels of aflatoxins increase the risk of cancer.Similarly, aflatoxins (AFB1) were discovered in two millet samples from Ashiaman and six samples from Nima.
“Based on these findings, it is prudent to avoid feeding brukina to infants because their bodies are more sensitive to toxic insults.””Farmers and ‘brukina’ producers must also be educated on good storage practices and monitored by regulatory agents to protect the public from aflatoxin exposure and toxicity,” said Prof.
Regina Appiah-Opong, Toxicologist and lead scientist at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.