Fungal growth is a major problem of food storage in humid environments, as occur in South Pacific countries for parts of the year. Major crops, including edible nuts, copra and root crops, are susceptible toAspergillus growth and therefore potential contamination with aflatoxin. Liver cancer occurs in Fiji and Tonga, with the occurrence in Fijians being significantly higher than in the Indian population.
Thirty-three peanut samples from farmers were analysed for aflatoxin and 50% of the samples from Fiji were positive but only 9% from Tonga, reflecting different storage practices. Local copra, cassava, and maize samples were found contaminated, with only the maize at a serious level. Twenty-five plate food samples from Fiji showed low contamination. When starch foods from the Fijian diet left after cooking were analysed to follow potential aflatoxin development only sweet potatoes showed some contamination.