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Mycotoxins in Food

The amount of mycotoxins in food has become a concern for food safety. Mycotoxins in food are caused by molds and can be both healthy and toxic to the body depending on the amounts that the mold is in. Mycotoxins were discovered in London in 1962. The reason was that nearly 100,000 turkeys died after eating ground peanut meal. The peanut meal had been contaminated with Aspergillus flavus, which is a common fungus. 

Since the discovery of mycotoxins, there have been many studies about mycotoxins in food, and the development of the mycotoxins analysis. The study of the effects of mycotoxins on humans was also studied. Mycotoxins, in high amounts or small doses over a long time, have been shown to cause many serious health problems like cancer. However, many mycotoxins have a tolerable daily intake that will not cause any risk to someone’s health over a lifetime. 

With the results of the studies that have been done on mycotoxins in food, the European Commission set guidelines for the amounts of mycotoxins in food. These guidelines where put into place to protect consumers. There are also special guidelines set for mycotoxins in food items that are imported to the EU. Many of these special guidelines about mycotoxins in food are for third world countries, as they do not have the same level of mycotoxins risk assessment as other countries, and is done to protect the consumers.

Along with setting guidelines about the importing and selling of food that have mycotoxins, the European Commission also has information for farmers and food producers about how to lower the chances of crops, and food products having too high of mycotoxins to be legally used. Many of the foods that are likely to have high levels of mycotoxins should have a mycotoxins analysis done to make sure that the food item is with the legal limits, and is safe to consume. 

There are many food items that are used in most food production. Corn, wheat, barley and sugar can be easily being contaminated with mycotoxins. Most of the mycotoxins that are in these food items will be removed by cooking them. If you are worried about the mycotoxins in food items that your business produces, some mycotoxins analyses can be done. There is also a mycotoxins risk assessment that can be done to see how likely your food items are to have high amounts of mycotoxins. 

Since there are so many, different types of mycotoxins in food and they are a part of nature, there is always going to be the risk of having a high amount of mycotoxins in your food product. Doing a mycotoxins analysis from time to time makes it is easy to know if you are within the legal limits, and able to sell your products in the EU.
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