Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals.
Mycotoxins can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apple juice and coffee, usually under warm and humid conditions.
The mycotoxins of most concern from the standpoint of Food Business Operators (FBO) include the aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1, G2 and M1), ochratoxin A, patulin and toxins produced by Fusarium moulds, including fumonisins (B1, B2 and B3), trichothecenes (principally nivalenol, deoxynivalenol, T-2 and HT-2 toxin) and zearalenone.
Mycotoxins can cause a variety of health problems in humans, even death in some instances. Aflatoxins, including aflatoxin B1 are the most toxic and have been shown to be genotoxic i.e. can damage DNA and cause cancer in animal species.
There is also evidence that they can cause liver cancer in humans. Other mycotoxins have a range of other health effects including gastrointestinal disturbances, reproductive disorders, kidney damage or suppression of the immune system, leading to inability to fight off infections.
For most mycotoxins, a tolerable daily intake (TDI) has been established, which estimates the quantity of mycotoxin which someone can be exposed to daily over a lifetime without it posing a significant risk to health.
The Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulation, 2011 has clearly stipulated the standard safe limits of mycotoxins like aflatoxins in various food-stuffs. For example, the groundnut kernel (deshelled) for direct human consumption commonly known as “moongphali” should not contain more than 30 parts per billion of aflatoxins. This is the recommended safety limit for aflatoxins. If there is more amounts, then the food-stuffs will be toxic and therefore unfit for human consumption.
The safety limits fixed by the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulation, 2011 for some common mycotoxins are given in the Table below:
|Name of mycotoxin||Article of food||Limit (µg/kg)|
|Aflatoxin||All articles of food||30|
|Patulin||Apple juice or its ingredients in other beverages||50|
|Ochratoxin A||Wheat, barley, rye||20|
As per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), for the safety of human beings, a FBO has to test the food products at stages – while processing and when the product is ready to be sold in the market. Therefore, in order to ensure the safety of consumers, the FBO’s should check the limits of contaminants like mycotoxins in their food products.
Our state-of-the-art facilities provide fast and accurate screening to detect, identify, and quantify the presence of mycotoxins in food. To protect their business and minimize the risk of negative health impacts, our testing helps the FBO’s to maintain recommended standards for the control of harmful mycotoxin levels in food products.
Importantly, our food testing lab has been identified among the top 5 national level labs in India and is accredited by NABL and approved by FSSAI for testing of food.
Please contact us today using the quick query form on the right or by calling us now on +91-11-45754575 to get your food samples tested for Mycotoxins.