The discovery of carcinogenic aflatoxins in milk last week has scared off Romanian consumers, according to public relations firm Rogalski Grigoriu. Two in five consumers did not buy milk last week and less than half of the respondents surveyed by Rogalski Grigoriu thought the milk in shops was safe. Meanwhile, the vice-president of Romania veterinary and food safety authority (ANSVSA) Vladimir Mănăstireanu has issued assurances that the milk on the shelves in Romania is safe.
Some 22 percent of consumers believe that milk is unsafe, while 36 percent are unsure if milk is safe or not, according to Rogalski Grigoriu Public Relations. In the survey, 46 percent of respondents said they thought the milk on sale in Romanian shops was safe to drink.
The ANSVSA vice-president said the milk found to contain aflatoxins at levels above the recommended safety limits had been destroyed. Checks are currently ongoing across the industry, according to ANSVSA, and 1,062 samples out of 1,284 have already been tested. The results of the inquiry will be published by the end of next week, according to ANSVSA.
News broke on March 7 that levels of aflatoxins above the safety limits had been discovered in two consignments of milk. Agriculture minister Daniel Constantin said at the time that there was no danger to the public.
The discovery of the aflatoxins in the milk was the result of testing across the food supply industry and the contaminated milk was withdrawn straight away, according to the authorities. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring and are produced by some types of aspergillus fungi. The fungi can grow on grains stocks, like wheat, and aflatoxins can be found in the milk of animals that have eaten infected feed.
According to the US Food & Drug Administration, aflatoxins were found to be carcinogenic in the 1960s and a maximum safe level of 20 parts per billion was set for food for human consumption.