Topic 1 EU Framework

Mycotoxins are of concern for human and animal health and is an important issue for national but also international trading. Regulatory bodies need to cooperate set limits for mycotoxin content in foods and feeds and harmonize standards throughout the world, taking into consideration consumers’ safety and social and economic impact of established.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is responsible for regularly assessing the risks of mycotoxins to humans, through contamination in food, and for recommending adequate protection.

Risk assessments of mycotoxins in food done by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)  are used by governments and by the Codex Alimentarius Commission  (the intergovernmental standards-setting body for food) to establish maximum levels in food or provide other risk management advice to control or prevent contamination.

The outcome of such health risk assessments can either be a maximum tolerable intake (exposure) level, or other guidance to indicate the level of health concern (such as the Margin of Exposure), including advice on risk management measures to prevent and control contamination, and on the analytical methods and monitoring and control activities.

https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/32997163

Black Mold (Aspergillus niger)

Author Piter Kehoma Boll

EFSA regularly assess the risk from mycotoxins and advise on controls to reduce consumer exposure. EFSA has an Experts Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) aiming to provide scientific advice on contaminants in the food chain and undesirable substances such as natural toxicants, mycotoxins and residues of unauthorized substances.

CONTAM Panel Members are scientists from across Europe with expertise in chemistry; exposure assessment; human and veterinary toxicology (in risk assessment of chemicals); toxicological tests in experimental animals; epidemiology; statistics and animal nutrition (animal exposure assessment)

The Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 set limits for mycotoxins maximum levels in foodstuff that are very low due to their severe toxicity.

Some example of current EU limits for mycotoxins are as follows:

  • the maximum levels for aflatoxins range from 0.025 to 15 µg/kg (a µg is one billionth of a kilogram) in various nuts, grains, dried figs, spices, milk and infant formulae;

The Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 set limits for mycotoxins maximum levels in foodstuff that are very low due to their severe toxicity.

Some example of current EU limits for mycotoxins are as follows:

  • the maximum limit for patulin in apple juice or solid apple products range from 10 to 50 µg/Kg