Research – Mycotoxin – Europe sets new ergot alkaloids limits

EU

The European Commission is to introduce new rules around a type of mycotoxin in certain food products.

The limits are for ergot alkaloids in barley, wheat, spelt, rye and oats and processed cereal-based food for infants and young children.

There are also changes to the legislation for ergot sclerotia, which contain ergot alkaloids. Lower levels of ergot sclerotia can already be achieved in most cereals by use of good agricultural practices and by sorting and cleaning techniques.

Ingestion of ergot alkaloids can cause ergotism in humans and animals. This was common in humans centuries ago but is rare nowadays. It can cause hallucinations and in extreme cases loss of limbs. Other symptoms include abdominal pains, vomiting, burning sensations of the skin and insomnia.

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