Handling practices and aflatoxin contamination of silver fish (Mukene) sold in selected markets of Mukono District, Central Uganda
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Aflatoxins are poisonous fungal metabolites that contaminate foods and feeds which cause adverse health effect like hepatotoxicity, immunosuppression, teratogenic and retarded growth. Previous studies in Uganda focused mainly on human foods and animal feeds but limited information exist on silver fish. This study assessed the handling practices and determination of aflatoxin contamination of silver fish sold from the selected markets of Mukono district, Central Uganda. Forty-five silver fish samples were purchased from three selected markets for observational study and moisture content determination using hot air oven to assess handling practices and aflatoxin detection using Thin Layer Chromatography. The study found out that majority of the traders (84.4%) were operating in permanent storage houses, 24 (53.3%) packed silver fish in gunny sacks with 15 (33.3%) using buckets and most traders 40 (88.9%) placed their silver fish on raised surface. The moisture content ranged from 2.12% to 14.28% with mean moisture of 8.18%. Majority 30 (66.67%) silver fish samples tested positive for aflatoxin with 30 (66.67%) being aflatoxin B and 1 (2.22%) aflatoxin G. The results indicated that silver fish from Mukono was contaminated with mostly aflatoxin B however, it is difficult to conclude about the levels of contamination since the study was qualitative and done on small sample size. Therefore, extensive studies should be conducted using quantitative methods to understand the levels of contamination and the safety of the silver fish for human consumption.