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Aflatoxins are toxins produced by a mold that grows in nuts, seeds, and legumes. Function: Although aflatoxins are known to cause cancer in animals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows them at low levels in nuts, seeds, and legumes because they are considered "unavoidable contaminants." The FDA believes occasionally eating small amounts of aflatoxin poses little risk over a lifetime. It is not practical to attempt to remove aflatoxin from food products in order to make them safer.