Abstract A total of 102 helva samples consisting of 34 plain helva, 34 helva containing cacao, and 34 helva containing pistachio nuts purchased from helva-factories and supermarkets in Adana of Turkey were analysed for aflatoxin B 1 (AFB 1) by thin-layer chromatography. The detection limit of AFB 1 was 1 μg kg −1. Recovery experiments were carried out with spiked samples in the range 2–10 μg kg −1 of AFB 1. No AFB 1 was found in any plain helva and helva containing cacao samples. On the other hand, of 34 helva containing pistachio nuts AFB 1 was determined in eight samples. AFB 1 was found in excess of Turkish legal limit of 5 μg kg −1 in 4 of 102 helva samples. This paper reports the data of the first survey for the presence of AFB 1 in helva in Turkey.