Food insecurity and its link to mycotoxins
In his remarks at the World Nutrition Forum hosted by Biomin, Prof. Christopher Elliott of Queen’s University Belfast explained how mycotoxins are related to 3 big drivers of insecurity in the food supply system: climate change, antimicrobial resistance and fraud.
Moving forward, mycotoxins will becoming more of a problem due to climate change. The increasing spread of mycotoxin-producing fungi having a dramatic impact on our food supply system, affecting both current and future crop types.
The health threat posed by antibiotic resistance and the influence of consumer demand have swept antibiotics out of food production at a rapid pace. According to Prof. Elliott, there will be more performance-related issues because of the reduction of antibiotics linked with the presence of mycotoxins.
A few years ago in Germany, a large amount of feed materials contaminated with aflatoxins came into the food and feed supply system because of fraud. Thousands of farms were closed. This is just one example in light of growing evidence that the trade routes being used for moving agriculture and food commodities around the world are being penetrated by criminal organizations.
According to Prof. Elliott, there will be more performance-related issues because of the reduction of antibiotics linked with the presence of mycotoxins. Photo: Biomin
Mitigation against the risk mycotoxins will be technology-driven. One of the great innovations in dealing with mycotoxins is not to use binders but to find ways to degrade them. Metagenomics – the direct genetic analysis and study of genetic material in environmental samples – will bring massive interventions into dealing with mycotoxins in the future.
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