In this issue of Milling &Grain, we have a very informative article concerning the curse many in the food processing industry have to face- mycotoxins. These troublesome blights reoccur and are mentioned regularly in our magazine, as they are one of the most problematic issues that members of the flour industry face. Managing such tough infestations can still be very tricky, despite the latest advancements we have made to try and prevent them to the best of our abilities.

Public food safety standards have been in place for years to ensure that consumers are protected from any excessive and potentially unhealthy number of mycotoxins or agents that could be present in their food. Examples of these include wheat grain, which legally should not exceed 2,000μg/kg of DON, whilst semolina, meal, flakes and flours should not contain any more than 1,000μg/kg of DON.

Some of the most common and troublesome mycotoxins include deoxynivalenol and zearaleonone, commonly found in unprocessed wheat, dry pasta and bread. Other mycotoxins that are especially harmful include aflatoxin B1, which can also be discovered in dietary foods for children who have special dietary requirements. Ochratoxin A can also be discovered in wheat gluten, whilst ergot sclerotia can be found in unprocessed wheat.

Food processing can often help eradicate these mycotoxins through dilution or concentration. Cleaning also helps in removing the foreign material within the unprocessed wheat, which is done by sieving and/or scouring.

Dry millingdoes not traditionally help with the minimising of mycotoxins, but instead may solely redistribute the toxins around. Wet milling, in contrast, involves grains being submerged in water or some similar solution to separate the different aspects of the grain- thereby decreasing the quantity of water-soluble mycotoxins in the grain.

Toxicology reports are a great and in-depth way in which to check that your products are thoroughly free of mycotoxins, and perfectly safe for humans to ingest. Raw materials must always be carefully selected and properly stored, to keep such troublesome infestations away.

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