A scientific study commissioned by the BBC and reported on BBC Online showed that some peanut butter on sale in UK supermarkets contains excessive levels of aflatoxins, the naturally occurring contaminant which can trigger fatal allergies.

One product from leading retailer Tesco had more than twice the upper limit of aflatoxins permitted under EU safety roles. A Tesco spokesperson expressed concern but responded that the problem was a challenge for the whole industry, but a trading standards officer said the controls currently in place are simply insufficient to safeguard against contaminated nuts entering the UK food chain.

Toxins linked to liver, aflatoxins are notoriously difficult to monitor, as they occur when nuts are contaminated by a fungus. The problem is that this fungus occurs randomly – meaning one jar of peanut butter may be contaminated, while another in the same batch is perfectly safe.

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