News last update:14 Jan 2016

Mycotoxin outbreak hurts US crops and farmers

In addition to grappling with a record-breaking drought and heat, now US farmers must deal with outbreaks of fungi that are destroying their crops.

Specifically, corn and wheat industries in the Midwest, Southern, and Eastern regions of the US are experiencing aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON) outbreaks. The drought has already prevented farmers from reaching their normal crop yields, and now the threat of mycotoxins could hurt farmers even more.

Aflatoxin is a dangerous mycotoxin produced by moulds. The compound is produced by fungi that grow on whole grains, fruits, and nuts, and thus can be found in a variety of food products, including dried fruits, peanut butter, spices and cereals.

Aflatoxin is toxic and considered a carcinogen if an excessive amount is consumed. At a low dose, aflatoxin is not considered threatening, but high doses have been associated with cancer, specifically in the liver.

DON is also a harmful mycotoxin that is produced by fungi and found mostly in grains such as wheat, barley, maize, oats, and rye. Large amounts of grain containing DON would have to be consumed in order for the mycotoxin to pose a health risk.

“Since these outbreaks have occurred, we have seen an increasing amount of requests for mycotoxin testing to ensure products are not contaminated,” states Dr. Jason Dobranic, EMSL Analytical, Inc.’s Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences.

“Our food testing division is staffed by experienced mycologists and microbiologists who provide a wide range of food testing services, including aflatoxin and DON testing, and we offer rapid results.”

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

Allison Winstanley

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