Aflatoxin Contamination of Pistachio and Aflatoxicose: Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices of People in Damghan City, Iran

Document Type : Research Article


1 Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

2 Food Safety Research Center (salt), Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran

3 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran

4 Cancer Research Center, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran


Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites that produced mainly by Aspergillus species in pistachio nuts or other food products. They are toxic carcinogens and mutagens that cause a variety of adverse effects such as acute and chronic poisoning, inducing cancer initiation and congenital malformation in humans and animals. This study aimed to determine level of knowledge, attitude, and practices concerning aflatoxin contamination in pistachio and its pathogenicity among members of the general public in Damghan city, Iran. This descriptive cross sectional study enrolled 297 people from the population of Damghan city in Iran in 2019 through multistage cluster sampling. Data analysis was performed by SPSS version 16. In this study, 57% (n=162) of the participants were male and the mean age was 41.81±12.1 year. Majority (40.7%) of study subjects had very poor level of knowledge, but a positive attitude (68.7%) about the aflatoxin toxicity. Also, more than 85% of study participants sometimes or always had a good practice regarding prevention of aflatoxin contamination. A significant positive correlation was found between the level of education and the knowledge and attitude scores of the participants (p <0.001). Age and practice of subjects had a significant correlation (r = 0.149, p = 0.021). The findings of this study indicate a poor knowledge level of people in Damghan city. Therefore, strategies such as providing necessary training program in order to improve the level of knowledge, attitude and practices of individuals about aflatoxin should be considered.


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