Process Management

News last update:6 Aug 2012

Mycotoxins major focus at crop congress

Practical advice on how to deal with the hazard of mycotoxins in cereals will be a major focus at this year's XVI International Plant Protection Congress in Glasgow, held 15 to 18 October 2007.

Based on the results of a five year project identifying the impact of agronomy in minimising the risk of mycotoxins, speakers will set out to explain how growers can take practical steps to reduce the formation of mycotoxins through Good Agricultural Practice.

Dr Simona Origgi of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), will provide an introduction to mycotoxins of importance in cereals and current legislation surrounding them. She will focus on fusarium mycotoxins which can be produced on cereal crops in the field as a result of fusarium ear blight, and ochratoxin A - produced in cereal grain during storage.

Session organiser and speaker, Dr Simon Edwards of Harper Adams University College says that as a result of the HGCA/FSA 2001-2005 project, the FSA has now developed a UK Code of Practice advising growers on what agronomy they should, and shouldn't, use to minimise the risk of mycotoxins when growing wheat for human consumption.

"Legislation was introduced in 2006 which set maximum limits for fusarium mycotoxins in cereals and cereal products for human consumption," says Dr Edwards. "As fusarium mycotoxins are produced in the field, Good Agricultural Practice is the primary mechanism to reduce fusarium mycotoxins entering the food chain."

Risk assessment
According to Dr Edwards, risk assessment for fusarium mycotoxins can be performed at three points during the season: At the start of the season to assess the agronomic risk; at ear emergence to assess the need for an ear spray and at harvest to assess the overall risk (weather and agronomy). Best practice he says would be to avoid maize as the previous crop (a major cause of mycotoxins in milling wheat), minimise crop debris on the soil surface, avoid susceptible varieties, consider an ear spray against fusarium and have a timely harvest.

A third speaker, Dr Pernilla Johnsson of Sweden's National Food Administration will present results from a large European project on the prevention of ochratoxin A in cereals. Dr Johnsson will indicate how these results can be used in a HACCP program to facilitate Good Storage Practice for cereals.

The XVI International Plant Protection Congress , in association with IAPPS (International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences) and the BCPC (British Crop Production Council) International Congress & Exhibition, takes place from 15-18 October, 2007 in Glasgow.

Related website:
The British Crop Production Council

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