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Moldy tomato sauce: this is what happens if you eat it



A new test on tomato sauces comes at the right time, after the seizure of tons of products from a well-known brand caused confusion and bewilderment among consumers. This test was carried out in Germany, but there are several Italian brands. With practically perfect timing, at least compared to what is happening in our country, a magazine analyzed and compared 50 brands of tomato sauce.

As always, the laboratory experts went to the meticulous search for controversial substances that may be present in the sauces and in particular mold toxins but also pesticides. This time, despite the test, it concerns us very closely: Italy is expressly indicated as the country of origin on 40 products and many sauces resulting from the test are also sold in our supermarkets.

The results showed that one in five tomato sauces contained toxic metabolic compounds from moulds, meaning moldy tomatoes also ended up inside the jars and cans. The dangerous mold toxins found in different sauces are those produced by fungi of the genus Alternaria, which are prevalent on tomato plants. These toxins represent a potential health risk for our body and some research conducted on cells has shown that they can damage all the genetic material even having an effect similar to that of estrogen.

Then there is tenuazonic acid (TEA), which is the most common toxin found in the test and which in studies has been shown to be able to inhibit the production of endogenous proteins, consequently causing serious organ damage. In addition to the high content of TEA or HAE, the same products have also found ergosterol, a biomarker of fungal spores which, although harmless in itself for the health of our organism, in fact confirms the transformation of rotten tomatoes in sauce.

So far, there are no mandatory legal limit values ​​for these toxins, but neither are they in progress. Initially, only indicative levels are given and, in the event of a subsequent overrun, producers are required to determine the various causes. The bad news in all of this is that organic brands also seem particularly affected by the problem. Laboratories have indeed found significant quantities of toxins in various “organic” products. The producers then justified themselves by saying that for the latter it is more difficult to reduce exposure to mold because in organic farming you cannot spray fungicides.

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