Aflatoxin sorter tool now goes beyond peanuts

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Aflatoxin Aspergillus

An aflatoxin laser sorter which has been proven in a trial phase over 12 months with a global ready-to-eat snacks company has been modified to allow for the detection of all tree nuts as well as peanuts and is now being rolled out globally, claims Visys.

The Belgium-based equipment manufacturer said that its Toxyn sorter can now be used by producers of pistachios, groundnuts, almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts.

Aflatoxin, the generic name for several related metabolites (mycotoxins) produced by the mould Aspergillus Flavus on a wide range of nuts, is known to cause serious health problems and be highly carcinogenic.


EU regulation requires that the total aflatoxin content (sum of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2) of any sample must not exceed equivalent 4ppb (parts per billion) or 2ppb for aflatoxin B1 content alone.

Sample procedure stipulates that three 10kg samples must be taken from every imported lot and put under analysis.

Testing phase

Historically, detection of aflatoxin has been difficult but Frank Zwert, managing director of Visys told that the results of the company’s exclusive trialling of the sensor based technology with the global snack processor show that it significantly reduced aflatoxin-contaminated batches.

‘The processor achieved a false reject percentage of 0.3 per cent, which translates as three kg per 1,000kg of nuts and is definitely under the threshold for EU tolerance limits,’​ said Zwert.

He explained how the sensor based opto-electronic system works by detecting a naturally occurring acid that is a significant indicator of the presence of aflatoxin.


Developed in collaboration with the University of Ghent in Belgium, the Toxyn sorter has since been adapted to allow it to be integrated into Visys’ existing Spyder platform so that processors can limit their investment to one sorter when looking to eliminate foreign bodies and defective or contaminated products, he continued.

In addition, said the manufacturer, the Toxyn is equipped with the Chycane slide infeed chute to aid low level of false reject as well as spoilage and nut breakage, and can also be used in conjunction with the Voluntary Aflatoxin Sampling Plan (VASP) in the US in terms of shipments to the EU.

Other market players

Technology developer, Best, also recently developed a sorter to facilitate the discovery of aflatoxin-tainted materials.

Its Detox laser, introduced onto the market a few months ago, can be configured with up to 12 laser sensors, while a combination of structural measurements and full spectrum RGB colour sorting makes it’s a highly adaptable system, said Best.

A colour touch screen and a GUI human interface with simple and easy to understand controls allow operators to monitor all aspects of the sorting process, said the firm.

A test conducted prior to its release, when the sorter was integrated into the production line of one almond processor, demonstrated its effectiveness, said the company at the time.

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