Infants and young children (IYC) remain the most vulnerable population group to environmental hazards worldwide, especially in economically developing regions such as sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). As a result, several governmental and non-governmental institutions including health, environmental and food safety networks and researchers have been proactive toward protecting this group. Mycotoxins, toxic secondary fungal metabolites, contribute largely to the health risks of this young population. In SSA, the scenario is worsened by socioeconomic status, poor agricultural and storage practices, and low level of awareness, as well as the non-establishment and lack of enforcement of regulatory limits in the region. Studies have revealed mycotoxin occurrence in breast milk and other weaning foods. Of concern is the early exposure of infants to mycotoxins through transplacental transfer and breast milk as a consequence of maternal exposure, which may result in adverse health effects. The current paper presents an overview of mycotoxin occurrence in foods intended for IYC in SSA. It discusses the imperative evidence of mycotoxin exposure of this population group in SSA, taking into account consumption data and the occurrence of mycotoxins in food, as well as biomonitoring approaches. Additionally, it discusses the health implications associated with IYC exposure to mycotoxins in SSA.
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