Rice is an important cereal but it is often contaminated with aflatoxins (AFs). The purpose of this study was to identify and quantify AF (B1, B2, G1, and G2) in 67 rice samples cultivated in Mexico and Spain, and from imported crops collected in 2008 and 2009. The methodology was validated, the rice samples were concentrated and purified with immunoaffinity columns and were quantified by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). The average total AF (AFt) in the Spanish rice was 37.3 μg/kg, the range was from 1.6 to 1383 μg/kg, the most contaminated samples being from San Juan de Aznalfarache, Sevilla (AFt = 138.6 μg/kg), from Tortosa, Tarragona (AFt = 104.6 μg/kg), and Calasparra, Murcia (AFt = 103.9 μg/kg). The rice imported from France to Spain had AFt of 26.6 μg/kg and from Pakistan AFt of 18.4 μg/kg, showing less AF contamination than the local one. The rice which originated from Mexico contained (AFt = 16.9 μg/kg), and those imported from the United States (AFt = 14.4 μg/kg) and Uruguay (AFt = 15.6 μg/kg). The imported rice had better quality in terms of the presence of AFs.
Rice is both a nutrient and a health risk, because it can be contaminated with aflatoxins that are proven carcinogens. The present study helps humans to know the state of their food and to prevent and avoid aflatoxins.