In this month's Milling and Grain magazine, our Managing Editor Vaughn Entwistle takes a look at Biomin's World Mycotoxin Survey 2019, which is an annual event the renowned mycotoxin experts have conducted on a regular basis for sixteen years now. The survey enables users to better understand the ongoing threat of mycotoxins in food and feed, as well as providing more insight into what areas and products have an increased chance of falling victim to these troublesome toxins.

The webinar once again proved to be very informative, with a great focus on the global threat of mycotoxins and, for the first time, also discussed mycotoxins present within the aquaculture industry.

Mycotoxins (from the Greek words 'mykes' and 'toxikon', meaning 'fungus' and 'poison' respectively) continue to pose dangerous threats to both human and animal health. There are six main subcategories of mycotoxins; alfatoxins, ochratoxins, ergot alkaloids, citrinins, fusarium toxins and patulin.

The toxins that are most prevalent within food and feed milling are alfatoxins, ergot alkaloids and fusarium toxins, whilst ochratoxins typically reside in beverages such as wine or beer. Citrinin can appear in cheese, miso or sake whilst patulin is a toxin that tends to occur within mouldy fruit and vegetables.

For millers in our sector, alfatoxins are the deadly toxins to watch out for in raw material such as maize, soybean and barley. Ergot alkaloids are often present in bread products, whilst fusarium can be found within grain and cereals.

The symptoms of falling victim to these toxins vary, but can result in weakened immune systems, diseases, various health problems and even, in extreme cases, death. It is, therefore, imperative that companies take the proper precautionary steps when producing and storing their feed and raw materials.

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