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Wednesday, 2 April 1980
Page: 1423


Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 6 March 1980:

(   1 ) Is the agent, Anatoxin a recognised carcinogen.

(2)   Why did the Food Science and Technology Subcommittee of the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend the raising of Anatoxin levels in peanuts and peanut products to 1 5 parts per billion.


Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle - The Minister for Health has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) Aflatoxins have been shown to cause liver cancer in experimental animals at various levels of ingestion. Chickens, ducks, trout and certain rat species are particularly sensitive.

Epidemiological studies show that liver cancer in humans in certain areas of Africa and South East Asia can be attributed to ingestion of foods over long periods of time containing very high levels of anatoxins.

(2)   The Food Science and Technology Sub-committee in 1977 recommended that the maximum permitted level for aflatoxins in peanuts and peanut products should be accepted as 15 micrograms per kilogram. The Sub-committee recommended this because it considered that this level provided an adequate safety margin, and that, in the light of current scientific knowledge, the level of 5 micrograms per kilogram was unnecessarily stringent.

This matter is still under consideration by the National Health and Medical Research Council.







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