A survey on Aflatoxin M1 content in sheep and goat milk produced in Sardinia Region, Italy (2005-2013)

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Salvatore Virdis
Christian Scarano
Vincenzo Spanu
Gavino Murittu
Carlo Spanu *
Ignazio Ibba
Enrico Pietro Luigi De Santis
(*) Corresponding Author:
Carlo Spanu | cspanu@uniss.it


In the present work the results of a survey conducted in Sardinia Region on Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) contamination in milk of small ruminants from 2005 to 2013 are reported. A total of 517 sheep and 88 goat milk samples from bulk tank, tank trucks and silo tank milk were collected. Analyses were performed by the Regional Farmers Association laboratory using high-performance liquid chromatography following the ISO 14501:1998 standard. None of the sheep milk samples analysed during 2005- 2012 showed AFM1 contamination. In sheep milk samples collected in 2013, 8 out of 172 (4.6%) were contaminated by AFM1 with a concentration (mean±SD) of 12.59±14.05 ng/L. In one bulk tank milk sample 58.82 ng/L AFM1 was detected, exceeding the EU limit. In none of goat milk samples analysed from 2010 to 2012 AFM1 was detected. In 2013, 9 out of 66 goat milk samples (13.6%) showed an AFM1 concentration of 47.21±19.58 ng/L. Two of these samples exceeded the EU limit, with concentrations of 62.09 and 138.6 ng/L. Higher contamination frequency and concentration rates were detected in bulk tank milk samples collected at farm than in bulk milk truck or silo samples, showing a dilution effect on AFM1 milk content along small ruminants supply chain. The rate and levels of AFM1 contamination in sheep and goat milk samples were lower than other countries. However, the small number of milk samples analysed for AFM1 in Sardinia Region in 2005-2013 give evidence that food business operators check programmes should be improved to ensure an adequate monitoring of AFM1 contamination in small ruminant dairy chain.

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