Improving the control of aflatoxin-contaminated foods in Haiti
In Haiti, a high percentage of the population is exposed to aflatoxins — poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals growing in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains. They are regularly found among staple food commodities such as peanuts, and enter the food supply when processed. Children are particularly affected by aflatoxin exposure, which leads to stunted growth, delayed development, and liver-related diseases.
Laval University will lead this project, which aims to reduce risk to aflatoxin contamination in peanuts among the Haitian population by applying proven control solutions during the harvest, drying, storage, sorting, and processing stages. Factors influencing the adoption of control methods by farmers, harvesters, transporters, artisanal, and commercial peanut processors and other actors of the value chain will be identified through a characterization of the peanut value chain. The project will also design a safe and economically viable non-food/feed-related value chain for rejected aflatoxin-contaminated peanuts.
Researchers will promote cooperation between public and private organizations in reducing aflatoxin contamination and the population’s exposure to contaminated foods. Sustainability of the project’s impacts will be enhanced by improving the capacity of Haitian universities to carry out research on aflatoxin control. It will also be enhanced by improving the capacity of national institutions to monitor contamination levels and to inform policies and interventions in favour of population health and food safety. Women and families will be the subjects of particular attention throughout the study.