International trade among African countries witnessed a set back few year ago when  Kenya rejected 600 000 tons of maize from Uganda in 2018 due to poor quality and aflatoxin contamination. A report , by E Gourd  published in The Lancet early in 2023, further raised te alarm in Uganda. At the Kansas State University, researchers hinted of a rise i aflatoxin levels due to high temperatures ad drought, two conditions readily available in Africa. For more, please visit the 2 resources hereunder

Rising temps, drought likely to increase incidence of aflatoxin …

Kansas State University

https://www.ksre.k-state.edu › news › stories › 2023/04
17 Apr 2023 — Researchers estimate losses to triple by 2040 under current trends. April 17, 2023. By Pat Melgares, K-State Research and Extension news service.

High concentrations of aflatoxin in Ugandan grains sparks …

The Lancet

https://www.thelancet.com › lanonc › article › fulltext
by E Gourd2023 — “Kenya rejected 600 000 tons of maize from Uganda in 2018 due to poor quality and aflatoxin contamination,” he recalled, “amounting to $48·6 …
Dele Fapohunda
May 4, 2023




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May 4 2023




These are aerial expressions of vegetative(hyphal)growth of fungi in the substrate. The substrate may be decaying log of wood, tree bark or other dead organic matter Although its macroscopic expressions are now used for all human activities, including nutrition and medicine, it was not originally designed for these purposes. It is designed to bring to the open the spores in order to allow multiplication. The actual organism lives organically under the ground or inside wood, reveals presence only by fruiting. The aerial growth is a reaction to environmental stress, most times, nutrient stress


Benefits /significance

  • A. As food for man e g Agaricus spp, Pleurotus spp

1.Rich in protein, vitamin (B, B2, & C) and has many minerals. The nutritional content is located within the chitinous cell wall. Has no sodium, and cholesterol

Water content- 90%

  1. Protein- 3-4% (retained by N2 content x 6.25)

Dry weight- 20-35%

3.Contains all essential amino acids. Lysine, inadequate in cereals, is in abundance in mushrooms

4.Fat- unsaturated fatty acids (healthy to man) are in abundance is Linoleic acid

5.Vitamins and rich in minerals- Thiamine (B1),  Riboflavin (B2), Ascorbic acid (C), Niacin & Biotin, P, K. Na

6 Fresh mushroom contains fibres and carbohydrates


  • B. As medicine

1.lowers cholesterol level, reduces heart and coronary disease

2.suppresses the growth of tumours

3 controls effect of diabetes  eg Plenrotus, Lentinula

4.reduces infections through the production of antioxidants eg Ganodema, Auricalaria,


  • C. In environmental remediation
  1. neutralizing of polluted          or acidic soil


2.degrade lignin, hemicelluloses like  the basidiomycete white rot (lignin degrading) fungi.  The white rot fungi  can degrade lignin & hemicelluloses leading to the wood turning white, a process called bio-bleaching

3.break down poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)e.g. Phanerochaetes chrysosporium and Coriolus versicolor– both produce extra cellular enzymes


  • D.Ancient people linked mushroom to the gods,
  • E.No arable land is needed for their cultivation
  • F.Agricultural  waste can be  turned to fertili


Edible mushrooms include-Agaricus bisporus (button mushroom), Pleurotus spp, Volvariella volvacea, (paddy straw mushroom)Lentinus edoides(shiitake). Others include Coprinus spp, Auricularia polytricha and the chanterrelle

Poisonous one are usually identified by their deep odour and excessive pigmentation(colouration) Examples are  Amanita phalloides(death cap),Coenocybe filaris, and Cortinarius species.



Mushrooms are generally found in the Division basidiomycota although a few are located in the Ascomycota

They are mostly  saprophytes, symbionts, parasites, but they mostly combine at least two of these i.e symbionts also have saprophytic tendencies. Parasites change to saprophyte after host’s death.

Saprophytes are on dead wood, soil and decaying leaves and other organic materials. The margin and pileus can be used to describe a typical mushroom. The margins  can be Smooth, Crenate, striate or wavy . The pileus can also be smooth, velvety, raised scales, having patches or flat scales.

Looking for mushroom in the wild is called MUSHROOMING or MUSHROOM HUNTING It is the  practice of foraying for mushrooms in a defined area or habitat. They however, can live in diverse microhabitats within a particular ecosystem conferring limitations on their species diversity and number of stands.

The compost is pasteurized to kill the pathogens.

=In mushroom cultivation,  a form of single cell protein is being produced  because agricultural waste is recycled into food(SCP) and the remains serve as organic manure . About 3 weeks is needed to attain harvest of mushrooms. The mushroom grows in “flushes”(sing=flush) which is defined as the group of mushroom ready for harvest. Harvesting of mushroom is also called cropping. Flushes appear at approximately 7 days intervals until 4 or 5 flushes are harvested and the substrate is deemed spent and unproductive. At different stages of maturity the grower can harvest buttons(having unopened caps); or cups (with open caps) sometimes curving up and revealing full gills. 

The significance of mushrooms whether edible or poisonous, is rested on the culinary and medicinal advantage as well as their morbidity and mortality attractions when consumed by the uninformed. The species come in various colours, shapes, together with pileus and stipe configurations.

Amanita phalloides(death cap), Conocybe filaria and Cortinarius sp (web cap) are examples of poisonous mushroom. Edible  types include  Agaricus bisporus, Pleurotus species, Volvariella volvaceaLentinus eloides,  and Boletus sp.


Prospective  mushroom hunters must adopt the following safety rules before embracing any mushroom at all

1 For a confirmed  amateur, totally inexperienced in mushrooming, it is adviseable to stay away from any species  considered difficult to classify.

2 Ensure multiple sources for confirmation of status, before attempting to eat.

3.Do not rush at ‘look- alikes’. Some mushrooms that are considered edible in one region may have some similar forms which may draw an inexperienced person to them for consumption

4 At first, it is advisable to consume only a little of a fairly unclassified mushroom. Then watch reactions over time, even after, enough expert opinion considered such as safe

5.A mushroom that is very attractive in colour is  most likely a candidate for poisonous groups. Equally, those with strong odour must be avoided at first contact.

6 Most edible ones fall under ‘Little Brown Mushrooms’(LBM) group making any similar species, even when not yet confirmed, to be suspected as edible. The danger of such can be avoided by exercising great caution.

7 Avoid mushrooms that grow profusely in heavily polluted areas. They are accumulators of heavy metals, making them unsafe.


Dele Fapohunda

May 4 2023


The Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS)     has released a rich report on types of FOOD CONTAMINANTS. It is a must read for young and established food safety experts and activists. It was reported on October 6, 2022

Please read on

Types of Food Contamination

Most food safety hazards that cause food contamination fall into one of three categories: biological, physical or chemical contamination

Whether you own, manage or work at a food business – or if you’re preparing and serving food at home – it’s important to understand what the potential food safety hazards and risks are. Food contamination is one such risk. In this resource, we discuss what food contamination is, the different types and sources of contamination, and preventative steps to take to ensure food safety.

What is food contamination?

Food contamination refers to when something gets into food that shouldn’t be there, thereby making the food unsafe to eat. Food-borne illness and its business-destroying cousin, the food-borne illness outbreak, are caused by food contamination.

While there are many food safety hazards that can cause food contamination, most fall into one of three categories: biological, physical or chemical contamination. In many cases, a single hazard can introduce more than one type of contamination to food.

Types of food contamination


Biological contamination occurs when food becomes contaminated by living organisms or the substances they produce. This includes biological matter produced by humans, rodents, insects and microorganisms. Biological contamination is the leading cause of food-borne illness and food poisoning*, and a common cause of food spoilage and food waste. There are six types of microorganisms that can cause food-borne illness: bacteria, viruses, parasites, protozoa, fungi and prions.

Most food-borne illnesses in Canada are caused by bacteria or viruses, with the most common being:

  • Norovirus
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • Campylobacter

Food-borne illness occurs when disease-causing microorganisms, also called pathogens, get into food and multiply to unsafe levels before being eaten. This can happen remarkably quickly; in conditions ideal for bacterial growth, one single-cell bacteria can become two million in just seven hours.

Bacteria and other pathogens thrive in foods that are:

  • Moist
  • High in protein or starch
  • Neutral in acidity

Foods that meet these criteria are called potentially hazardous or high-risk foods. All high-risk foods are teeming with pathogens and other bacteria; it is your responsibility to stop bacteria from multiplying to unsafe levels and, where possible, to destroy them via the cooking process.

To slow down the growth of bacteria and prevent food safety risks, you need to follow food safety best practices designed to control bacterial growth through proper food handling techniques, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing procedures and time and temperature control of food.

Food poisoning occurs when specific toxins are consumed, such as those produced by Salmonella, Staphylococcus or Listeria. Microbial toxins are extremely potent toxins that can disable the immune system and damage tissues if they are consumed. Many microbial toxins are heat-resistant, so even if bacteria are destroyed in the cooking process, the toxins remain in the food and can cause violent, almost-instantaneous symptoms.

To minimize the risk of biological food contamination occurring in your food business, always:

  • Keep high-risk foods (e.g. meat, poultry, dairy, eggs) out of the Temperature Danger Zone**
  • Purchase, store, thaw, prepare, cook and serve high-risk foods properly
  • Regularly clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces and equipment
  • Maintain good overall hygiene and sanitation of the premises
  • Maintain high standards of personal hygiene (and ensure all employees do the same)

*The terms “food-borne illness” and “food poisoning” differ slightly in meaning but are often used interchangeably to describe any food-related illness caused by microorganisms or their byproducts.

**In Manitoba, the Temperature Danger Zone is 5°C – 60°C (41°F – 140°F). In all other provinces and territories in Canada, it is 4°C – 60°C (40°F – 140°F).


Physical contamination occurs when a physical object enters food at some stage of the production or preparation process. Physical objects in food can be a choking hazard and often introduce biological contaminants as well. Even if the object is not likely to injure your customer, finding an object in their food can be very distressing for a customer (who knows that harmful microorganisms on the object could make them ill).

Common examples of physical contaminants in food businesses include:

  • Hair
  • Fingernails
  • Bandages
  • Jewellery
  • Broken glass, staples
  • Plastic wrap/packaging
  • Dirt from unwashed fruit and vegetables
  • Pests, pest droppings, rodent hair

To minimize the risk of physical food contamination occurring in your food business, always:

  • Wear hair neatly tied back or wear a hair/beard net
  • Keep jewellery to a minimum
  • When necessary, wear brightly coloured bandages that can be easily seen if they fall off
  • Throw out and replace cracked, chipped or broken dishware, glassware and equipment
  • Use a plastic or metal scoop for ice (never use the glass!)
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • Establish pest prevention and control procedures as part of your Food Safety Plan


Chemical contamination occurs when food produces or comes into contact with toxic chemicals, which can lead to chemical food poisoning. Chemical contaminants fall into one of two categories: natural and artificial.

Common chemical contaminants include:

  • Cleaning products (e.g. detergent, sanitizer)
  • Pesticides/herbicides
  • Toxic chemicals in metals and plastic
  • Preservatives
  • Naturally-occurring toxins

Naturally-occurring toxins are toxic compounds that are produced by living organisms, some of which are staples of the human diet (e.g. shellfish, potatoes, fish). These toxins are not harmful to the organisms themselves but can be harmful to us if we eat them.

Minimal contamination with natural toxins might not lead to illness, but Food Handlers should be aware of which foods produce toxins and take all reasonable precautions to ensure that food is safe for consumption. Potatoes, for example, produce glycoalkaloids that are toxic to humans. The majority of these toxins are contained in or just under the peel, and in any eyes or sprouts on the potato. Green skin can indicate the presence of toxins, so be sure to remove any eyes, sprouts or green skin if you decide to use potatoes that have greened or sprouted.

There are many ways that food can become contaminated by artificial/synthetic chemicals in a commercial kitchen. Food Handlers can accidentally cause chemical contamination if they:

  • Don’t store cleaning products and other chemicals properly
  • Use too much detergent or sanitizer to clean food preparation surfaces, glassware, dishes or cutlery (follow the manufacturer’s instructions!)
  • Don’t rinse surfaces, glassware, dishes or cutlery properly after cleaning and sanitizing (if applicable)
  • Don’t properly wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides
  • Use kitchen equipment or containers made from materials that are not suitable for food or not designed to be reused (use only food-grade plastic and metals)
  • Use pest control products (e.g. spray, poisonous bait) improperly

To minimize the risk of chemical contamination occurring in your food business, always:

  • Label and store chemicals separately from food
  • Use the appropriate chemical for the job you’re doing
  • Follow the chemical manufacturer’s instructions with regards to dilution, contact time and water temperature
  • Use chemical pest control products with extreme care or outsource pest eradication to a professional pest control service


Cross-contamination is the accidental transfer of contaminants from one surface or substance to another, usually as a result of improper handling procedures. In a food setting, the term refers to the transfer of contaminants from a surface, object or person to food. Cross-contamination usually refers to biological contamination but can also be physical or chemical.

Cross-contamination in a food business often occurs as a result of:

  • Food Handlers (e.g. microorganisms from sweat, sneezing/coughing, hands, hair, clothing)
  • Improper food handling techniques (e.g. reusing cutting boards or utensils for raw and cooked food or for different types of food)
  • Improper cleaning and sanitizing (e.g. not properly rinsing cleaning chemicals from preparation surfaces, dishware, glassware or equipment)
  • Improper food storage (e.g. storing raw meat on shelves above ready-to-eat food)
  • Improper waste disposal (e.g. allowing garbage containers to overflow)
  • Pests

Cross-contamination can also pose a risk to customers with food allergies, as trace amounts of an allergen can be transferred in the same way that microorganisms can. Even trace amounts of an allergen can cause a serious allergic reaction — in some cases, a lethal reaction. As a food business owner, manager or employee, it is your responsibility to serve customers, including those with food allergies, a safe meal.

To minimize the risk of cross-contamination occurring in your food business, always:

  • Move around the business in accordance with the Food Safety Plan (e.g. change soiled kitchen clothing before moving from raw food to ready-to-eat prep stations)
  • Cover and store raw food on shelves below cooked or ready-to-eat food in the refrigerator (read more on preventing contamination in the fridge)
  • Use separate equipment or utensils to prepare raw and cooked foods
  • Use separate equipment or utensils to prepare different types of foods
  • Prepare allergen-free meals separately
  • Establish allergen management procedures as part of your Food Safety Plan
  • Maintain high standards of personal hygiene
  • Wash hands frequently using the correct hand washing technique
  • Handle and dispose of food scraps and waste properly (e.g. ensure garbage containers are sealed and stored away from food)

Pests deserve a special mention in this regard, as they are notorious sources of cross-contamination in food businesses. Rodents, flies and cockroaches carry untold numbers of disease-causing bacteria and other pathogens on their bodies, in their droppings and in urine and saliva, including Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria.

As such, pest prevention and control is vitally important in the workplace. Download the CIFS Guide to Pest Prevention and Control to find out more about the risks that common pests pose to a food business, how to prevent pests from entering your business and what to do if they get in.


The best way to prevent food contamination in your business

The food safety best practices listed above are by no means an exhaustive list of everything you must do to prevent food contamination and its consequences in the food business you own, manage or work in.

Everyone who works with food has a legal responsibility to take all reasonable measures to protect the public you serve from health risks like food-borne illness and food allergies. It’s also in your best interest to do so, considering that your income is tied directly to the success of the business.

The best way to prevent food contamination and ensure food safety is through education and training. Fully trained Food Handlers know what they need to do to control food safety hazards and understand that there are consequences, for everyone, to taking shortcuts when it comes to food safety.

The Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS) provides online training, continuing education and resources to thousands of Canadian food workers as part of our mission to reduce food-borne illness and other food safety risks in Canada.

Source=Canadian Institute of Food Safety (CIFS)


All credits and comments to CIFS


Dele Fapohunda

Nov 19, 2022


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