In an effort to enforce the knowledge on mycotoxin occurrence and co-occurrence in dates and dried fruits, 228 samples purchased from Tunisian and Spanish markets were subjected to multi-mycotoxin liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis of 16 mycotoxins.
At least one mycotoxin was detected in 160 samples (70%). The frequency of contaminated samples was 83%, 80%, 64%, 59% and 26% for dates, dried vine fruits, figs, apricots and plums, respectively but none of the analyzed samples contained detectable levels of fumonisins (FB1, FB2, FB3) or T-2 toxin (T2).
The incidence and levels of mycotoxins varied in samples. The most prevalent mycotoxin was enniatin B (EnnB) (54%), followed by enniatinA1 (EnnA1) (36%); aflatoxins (AFs) (23%) and ochratoxin A (OTA) (22%). Thirteen samples contained AFs in levels that exceed the maximum limits established in EU legislation. The simultaneous contamination with 2–6 mycotoxins was observed in 51% of the analyzed samples. Lastly, intakes of the detected mycotoxins were calculated for average adult consumers and compared with the tolerable daily intakes (TDI). Data obtained were used to estimate the potential exposure levels.