Ochratoxin A (OTA) is produced by several species of Aspergillus and Penicillium and is a common food-contaminating mycotoxin.
Contamination of food commodities, such as cereals and cereal products, coffee beans, dry vine fruits, wine and grape juice, spices, preserved meat and liquorice, occurs worldwide, generally as a result of poor storage of commodities and suboptimal agricultural practices during the drying of foods.
OTA widely occurs in cereals, and beer, a cereal product, has a potential contamination risk, depending on the brewing materials contamination levels. However, the brewing process reduces OTA amounts.
OTA is formed during the storage of crops and is known to cause a number of toxic effects in animal species. The most sensitive and notable effect is kidney damage, but the toxin may also have effects on fetal development and on the immune system.