Journal of dairy science

Short communication: Occurrence of aflatoxin M1 in the Manchego cheese supply chain.

PMID 21605747


The importance of ewe milk lies in the production of high quality cheeses, such as Manchego cheese with a Protected Designation of Origin, whose safety must be guaranteed. In a 2-yr study, 407 bulk tank milk samples from farms and 82 silo milk and curd samples from cheese factories were collected from southeast Spain and tested for aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) using 2 commercial ELISA tests. Of these, 99.3% of the bulk tank samples had AFM1 levels below the European Union (EU) legal limit for milk (50 ng/kg), and well below the limit adopted by the Codex Alimentarius (500 ng/kg). Moreover, 98.8% of the silo milk and curd samples from cheese factories had AFM1 levels below the EU limit for milk. When considering median AFM1 concentrations, an average 4-fold increase was found in the final curd in relation to the corresponding silo milk. Control of AFM1 in Manchega ewe milk would enhance dairy product safety by the possible detection of faults in the manufacture of Manchego cheese.