Incidence of Aflatoxin Contamination in Maize Samples in Second Cycle Institutions in Cape Coast Metropolis

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JUNE 2017
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Maize related meals dominate the menus of most second cycle institutions in Ghana, making up 1-2 meals in a day’s menu. The incidence of aflatoxins (AF) in maize in eleven second cycle institutions within the Cape Coast metropolis was studied. Knowledge of staff in aflatoxins and its health effects and handling practices of maize was also investigated. Sampling of maize for aflatoxin analysis was taken from two different storage lot; one obtained towards the end of term (sampling 1) and the other at the beginning of term (sampling 2). Vicam Aflatest kit was used for the AF analysis. A standard question guide was used in obtaining information on knowledge of aflatoxins amongst procurement officers, storekeepers and domestic bursars and handling practices of maize within the second cycle institutions. From sampling 1, 100% had AF levels exceeding the Ghana standard limit of 15 ppb, while 18% of maize from sampling 2 exceeded the limit. Mean AF for sampling 1 and 2 were 416.13 ppb and13.58 ppb respectively. A significant difference (p=0.004) existed between the two sampling lots. Procurement of maize by second cycle institutions was influenced predominantly by pricing. Only 9% of respondents had knowledge on AF and its health effects. Time of maize procurement and post –harvest handling practices within the school significantly affected AF levels. The results indicate the students are exposed to the health effects of aflatoxins hence there is a need for policy makers to incorporate quality standards in the procurement and storage of maize for second cycle institutions.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management,