Friday, 5 July 2013

Mycotoxins in Feed - A Worldwide Survey

The regular survey of the number of samples of foodstuffs has been published for November and December 2012 and as usual it is a reminder that mycotoxins of all types are never far away from our diet. There are strictly permitted low levels allowed in our food so testing is carried out on thousands of samples every month in order to find out which batches to permit into our food chain and which are not.

If we look at the figures we can see that technically sophisticate countries such as the EU and USA have generally much lower numbers of positive (contaminated) samples compared with samples from poorer continents such as Africa but the difference isn't that great in overall terms with only two or three-fold differences in numbers in most cases. Despite all that technology the fungi continue to grow in our food!

We can conclude that we all eat a little mycotoxin most days, albeit at very low levels. There are areas of the world where ingested levels can be much higher and mycotoxicosis is not uncommon - see Food Mycotoxins.

It is worth noting the the levels noted for mycotoxin in human urine which are thought to come from food are similar to the levels detected in people exposed to moulds in damp homes (2 - 15 ng/ml). This may throw some doubt on the validity of concluding that those people are ill because of the mycotoxin they breathe in when in fact they could be eating it in very similar quantities.

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