Cleaning a contaminated lot of pistachios from Aflatoxin is a difficult job.  In a commercial lot we are confronted with very small amount of toxin highly concentrated in a very few nuts.  As of yet no physical characteristic of pistachios has been recognized to have a 1:1 direct relationship with Aflatoxin contamination.

The contaminated nuts, although small in numbers have the potential to be highly contaminated.  Although the acceptable limit under Codex norms is 10ppb, there are reports, which indicate the presence of five-digit contamination in a single nut. 

To produce DARPs we have to consider:

  1. The most reasonable path is to impede Aflatoxin contamination with observance of GAP and GMP practices in farming and processing of pistachios.  Furthermore, it should be accepted that even with observance of all these practices the final product should be subjected to strict control regimes to insure all safety targets.
  2. All invasive current methods (including chemical treatments) either have side effects themselves and are not permissible, or even if permissible, they have detrimental effect on taste and quality of product (i.e. Ozone treatment).
  3. So far no machinery or commercialized process is available to distinguish contaminated nuts from the healthy majority.
What we have achieved in Arian Milan is the following:

Identification of candidate pistachio growing regions and orchards and gathering data over the years to be able to judge the associated risks.  Practically identifying growers conforming to GAP practices.
Development of methods to be able to quantify the risks associated with a particular commercial lot and assessing the cost of Aflatoxin reduction in these lots. (Lot Selection Algorithm)
Development of detection mechanisms by different technologies based on extensive research and gathering and analysis of millions of data entries in commercial lots of Iranian pistachios
Mix and matching different technologies that would enable us effective separation of sub-group of products with higher contamination risks
Implementation of suitable and dynamic sampling and testing methods for risk analysis in different stages of the process from selecting raw product to processing and finally the final product.

Consequently we have built an effectual refining process by which we can reduce the Aflatoxin level in a given commercial lot.  In effect the raw material for this refining process would be selected with great care and a chain of different control mechanisms would monitor the production line in a dynamic fashion.  Giving attention to QM (quality management) and FSM (food safety management) would ensure a stable and reliable configuration.

No one can guarantee an “Aflatoxin Free” pistachio product without having a definition in respect to repeated sampling and controlling procedures.  As of yet no one has claimed this.
The concern over Aflatoxin in pistachios is to be able to evaluate the chances of passing a defined control regime (number and weight of each sample, testing method & maximum Aflatoxin level allowed).

Today, after a long and time-consuming process Arian Milan has surpassed studies, laboratory pilot project, semi-industrial pilot project and finally is in a position to offer a commercial product line with industrial scale capacity.  Furthermore substantial amount of product under these processes has been exported to the most stringent entry points of pistachios in Europe and elsewhere.  These goods have passed all tests by Health Authorities in addition to extra specially designed controlling regimes.  Our selected customers and we are confident of the success of these methods.

The main challenge today is the expansion of production capacity.  We are investing heavily in expansion of these production lines.  Additionally our R&D Department is heavily engaged in improving the productivity. 

For the coming years we see our main challenges to be increase in capacity, improving productivity, more industrialization of these processes and finally reducing the extra costs associated with this product line.  For consumer safety against Aflatoxin contamination our aim should be to achieve a level As Low As Reasonably Achievable.

Copyright©2009 Arian Milan. All rights reserved.
Best View: 1024*768