A major divide on the aflatoxin scene is the one separating human stakeholders in developed and developing countries. A reasonable representation is that the consumer in developed countries eats food with low levels of contamination and with the presence of a major divide between developed and developing countries (Table 1). This divide is the result of many of the factors discussed above and clearly demonstrates that the institutions that should protect populations in developing countries are failing to do so.

What are the consequences of this institutional failure? The animal data summarized by Williams et al. (2004) and the human epidemiological data (Gong et al., 2002; Jiang et al, 2005) that show that the changes in animal immunity and growth also occur in humans with chronic aflatox-icosis, suggest that aflatoxin is an important factor in the general health of human populations.

The possible connections between the risks to health defined by the WHO and aflatoxin have been reviewed and summarized by Williams et al. (2004). Based on published research these authors found logical, mechanistic grounds for aflatoxin modulation of risk factors that provide some 43% of the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYS) in the WHO risk analysis (Williams et al., 2004). Since the above analysis, there has been further demonstration of the

Table 1. Aflatoxin exposure (ng/kg body wt/day) in some regions and countries.


Aflatoxin exposure

Sub-Saharan Africa

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