This study examined the presence of Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in raw milk, cheese, and cheese halva samples collected from the Çanakkale province of Turkey. Raw milk, Ezine cheese, and cheese halva samples (n 120 for each group, total 360) were collected from bazaars, local manufacturers, and supermarkets in the Çanakkale province of Turkey during 2014 and 2015. ELISA was used to detect AFM1 in these products. AFM1 mean values were 5.14-78.69, 19.43-158.30, and 50.25-213.50 ng/kg in raw milk, Ezine cheese, and cheese halva samples, respectively. The levels of AFM1 in four raw milk samples (3.3%) were above the legal limits, whereas AFM1 levels in Ezine cheese and cheese halva samples were within the legal limits according to the requirements of the Turkish Food Codex and the European Commission. Turkey has a wealth of cultures and local delicacies. Over previous decades, gastronomic tourism in Turkey has become popular owing to an increase in visitor demand, and traditional foods are being exported abroad. Our research investigated the presence of AFM1 in these types of food products. Çanakkale is one of the best representative cities in the Marmara Region in Turkey as a source of these unique products.
Keywords: Aflatoxin M1; Cheese; Cheese halva; ELISA; Raw milk.