Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Dangers of Peanut Contamination

Despite the name, peanuts are classed as legumes, the same as peas and beans, and are packed with nutrients. Without the salt or sugar which is added when they’re roasted, peanuts can be considered a healthy snack. Peanuts in their shells come either roasted or unroasted, but raw peanuts can pose a risk to health which roasted peanuts do not.

An ounce of peanuts contains 170 calories and of those 130 are from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. These are the healthier types of fat and the less healthy, saturated fat, which only accounts for 2 grams in the 14 found in a serving of peanuts. With 7 grams per serving, peanuts pack a healthy protein hit as well as contain 2 grams of fiber which helps regulate blood sugar and maintain low levels of cholesterol. Some of the health benefits of peanuts are destroyed during the roasting process.

In their raw state peanuts are hard to digest, causing flatulence, cramping, and abdominal distension. It is much easier to digest peanuts that have been soaked in purified water, preferably overnight, although they should be rinsed thoroughly before ingestion. Soaked peanuts will go off quickly, however, and should be kept in the fridge.

Toxins from a metabolite of the fungus Aspergilla Flavis can be present in raw peanuts and the mold that grows on the fungus can contain aflatoxin which is carcinogenic mycotoxin. Found predominantly on cottonseed, peanuts, and corn, according to Environment, Health and Safety Online, the ingestion of aflatoxin can cause cancer of the liver. The symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning can include brain edema, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, convulsing and passing out as well as a build-up of fat in the internal organs which can be deadly.

Those who want to continue eating raw peanuts can protect themselves with a few simple measures, such as buying from a reputable supplier and checking whether they specifically say they are aflatoxin free, although bear in mind that the USDA allows for contamination of 20 monograms per gram. Never keep peanuts for more than four months and store them in a dry, cool, dark place – this is the advice from peanut retailers the Lee Bros.

As a favorite of children, peanut butter does have some health benefits: it’s a good source of protein and has a high calorific count with nearly 200 calories in a two-tablespoon serving. A serving also has 3 grams of sugar, 16 grams of fat, and 2 grams of fiber.

Although allergies to milk and eggs are more common in children, symptoms of a peanut allergy can be severe, including itching in the throat and mouth, swelling in the airways resulting in difficulty breathing, rashes, low blood pressure, and anaphylaxis.

Although the mold that causes afflation is common in several products including peanuts and is carcinogenic in animals, it is considered an unavoidable contaminant by the Food and Drug Administration in the USA.

 The Dangers of Peanut Contamination 

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