Food Protection Trends - May/June 2013 - (Page 167)

GENERAL INTEREST PAPER Food Safety Risks of Mycotoxins M. ELLIN DOYLE* Food Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison 1550 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA ABSTRACT Mycotoxins are a diverse group of secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi. Some mycotoxins have significant carcinogenic or toxic effects on humans, livestock, and companion animals. Contamination problems are particularly acute in areas where the diet consists largely of grains susceptible to mold infestation and storage facilities are inadequate. However, the food safety risk and economic impact of mycotoxin contamination is also very important in the more developed markets in North America and Europe.The Institute for Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison jointly sponsored a one-day symposium on mycotoxins. Experts from academia, government and industry provided insights on production and biological effects of mycotoxins, advances in analytical methods, novel approaches to prevent or deal with contamination problems, and government regulations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. INTRODUCTION Mycotoxins are a diverse group of secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi on crops growing in the field or on stored grains. Some mycotoxins are known to have carcinogenic or toxic effects in humans, livestock, and companion animals, and for this reason regulatory limits have been established for levels of some mycotoxins in foods and feed ingredients. Contamination problems are particularly acute in areas where the diet consists largely of grains susceptible to mold infestation and storage facilities are inadequate. However, the food safety risk and economic impact of mycotoxin contamination is also very important in the more developed markets in North America and Europe. The Institute for Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison jointly sponsored a one-day symposium on mycotoxins on April 12, 2012 in Chicago. Experts from academia, government and industry provided insights on production and biological effects of mycotoxins, advances in analytical methods, novel approaches to preventing or dealing with contamination problems, and government regulations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Attendees included representatives from several government agencies (U.S. and international), 8 academic institutions, and more than 25 companies that produce foods/feeds or specialize in analytical methods. Exposure to mycotoxins and biological effects Molds are important to the food and feed industries, both as spoilage organisms and as producers of toxic metabolites. Jae Hyuk Yu (UW-Madison) reviewed characteristics of these eukaryotic fungi that differentiate them from prokaryotic bacterial contaminants and enable them to survive some processing and environmental conditions that are usually lethal to bacteria. Molds can grow at pH < 4.0, at an aw of 0.8, and at temperatures ranging from 7 to 40°C, and they produce numerous spores resistant to even more stringent conditions. In terms of food safety, production of mycotoxins, including aflatoxins, trichothecenes, zearalenone, fumonisins, ochratoxin, and patulin, is the primary concern. Most of these compounds are not destroyed by ordinary cooking methods and some have been linked to acute or chronic illness in humans and other animals. It has been estimated that mycotoxins contaminate a significant portion of the world’s agricultural crops and result in billions of dollars of economic losses yearly. Strategies to prevent mold growth on crops in the field involve the use of fungicides, pesticides, and biocontrol methods. Control of moisture levels, temperature, and, where possible, oxygen concentrations can retard mold growth in stored commodities. Inhibitory gaseous compounds have also been used. Organic acids, chelating agents, and some naturally occurring compounds (e.g., vanillin and phenolic compounds) inhibit mold growth in processed foods. Modified atmosphere packaging may also be an effective deterrent because most molds require oxygen for growth. While molds are ubiquitous in the environment, concentrations of different mycotoxins vary according to crop plants, climate, and weather conditions, resulting in wide fluctuations, spatially and temporally, in detectable toxins. Spores of some fungi cannot survive in the soil during winter, and the amount and timing of spring and summer rains may enhance or restrict infection of crops by toxigenic molds. Gary Munkvold (Iowa State University) reviewed some surveillance studies indicating that, in the U.S., the greatest risk for DON (deoxynivalenol) contamination is in the upper Midwest and for aflatoxins is in the *Author for correspondence: Phone: +1 608.263.6934; Fax: +1 608.263.1114; E-mail: medoyle@wisc.edu MAY–JUNE 2013 FOOD PROTECTION TRENDS 167

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Protection Trends - May/June 2013

Food Protection Trends - May/june 2013
Contents
Commentary
Measuring Self-Efficacy of Food Safety in Middle School Populations
Food Safety Knowledge Among Restaurant Food Handlers in NeuchâTel, Switzerland
Video Observation and Data Coding Methods
Fsma: Article 3
General Interest Paper: Food Safety Risks of Mycotoxins
General Interest Paper: Fao/who Project Report
Industry Products
Coming Events

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