Evaluation of the Sewi dates safety produced by the traditional method

Document Type : Original Article


1 Food Toxicology and Contaminants Dept., National Research Center, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt

2 Department of Food Toxicology and Contaminants, National Research Centre, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt. P.O. Box: 12622, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt.

3 Food Toxicology Depart, National Research Center, Cairo, Egypt

4 Food toxicology and contaminants Department, National Research Center, Dokki, Cairo, Egypt


Sewi dates which is traditionally produced by sun drying at open air are exposed to contamination by various contaminants such as soil particles, dust, pests, birds and other contaminants like heavy metals, aflatoxins and microorganisms. The present work aimed to evaluate the level of heavy metals contamination, and microbial load as well as aflatoxins in Sewi dates samples produced by traditional methods. Thirty samples of Sewi date were collected from different local markets representing ten sites at Giza governorate. The date samples were digested by microwave oven (closed system), then the levels of heavy metals were determined by ICP. Also, microbiological analyses (total bacteria counts and yeasts and molds count) of Sewi date samples were assessed. Also, Levels of aflatoxins were determined by HPLC. The contamination levels of date sample by heavy metals, aflatoxins and microbial counts varied according to sampling location. The results showed that most of the collected date samples had high contamination with heavy metals, aflatoxins and microbes. Some metals such as Pb, Cd and Ni were above the maximum residue limits (MRLs), while As and Hg levels were below the detection limits in all date samples. Total bacterial count in Sewi date ranged from 2.537 to 4.85 Log CFU/g. while, mold and yeasts recorded lower counts that ranged from 2.61 to 3.973 Log CFU/g. In contrast, no coliforms, E. coli and Salmonella were detected in all date samples. The highest detected aflatoxins were AFB1 with 1.09 µg kg-1, while no AFB2 and AFG2 were detected. Finally, it can be concluded that the modification of date's production is necessary to reduce the contamination levels in the Sewi date to obtain the safe food.


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