Category Archives: Biotoxin

Research – Aflatoxins in cereals: State of the art

Wiley Online

Abstract

Recently, the contamination of food products, particularity cereals with aflatoxins (AF) as secondary metabolites generated by some of fungal genera species raised serious concerns. AF as the highly toxic compounds could pass through metabolic processes in unaltered forms and consequently accumulate in the tissues of humans and animals. The consumption of AF contaminated cereal, cereal‐based products as both food and feed is considered as a serious issue, which should be controlled through conducting prevention strategies and legislation. However, in some cases, the detoxification or elimination process also can be approached. The current article took an overview regarding physicochemical properties of AF, as well as their absorption, digestion, metabolism, and excretion in cereals. Also, the chronic and acute aflatoxicosis along prevention strategies and control mechanisms were discussed.

Practical applications

Cereal and cereal‐based products can be considered as one of the most important sources of food as well as energy in many countries. Despite this, cereals and cereal‐based foods may present contamination by several mycotoxins, as one of the challenging issues in cereal‐based products. The adverse effects of contamination by mycotoxins on food safety and food quality are reserved huge concerns. The knowledge regarding the physicochemical properties of aflatoxins as well as their control can aid the food industry to keep the quality of food products in an acceptable level.

Research – Mycotoxins – Mycotoxins Will Pose Greater Threat to Feed Safety, Hindering Industry Productivity and Sustainability

Biomin

Mycotoxins that contaminate crops and animal feed have been recognized as a risk to farm animals, and account for considerable economic costs to the feed and food industries. Their widespread occurrence and related threat has been documented consistently in the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey.

Dangers to feed safety, sustainability

“Mycotoxins are among the most important safety risks for the future livestock feed industry and security of the feed supply chain,” stated Dr Gunther Antonissen of Ghent University in Belgium.

Fungi-produced mycotoxins endanger more than feed safety and security. They also hamper productivity, adding additional cost to the feed and food industry while also affecting the environment.

“Due to their negative effects on farm animal productivity and health, mycotoxins prevent the animal protein industry from achieving an efficient and sustainable use of natural resources,” observed Dr. Wulf-Dieter Moll of the BIOMIN Research Center.

Harmful mycotoxins do not have to contaminate feed in high concentrations to make their negative effects felt in farm animals. “At present, clinical mycotoxicosis caused by high doses is rare,” explained Dr Antonissen.

“However, also the ingestion of low to moderate levels of these toxins cause an array of metabolic, physiologic and immunologic disturbances, with the gastrointestinal tract as one of the major target organs,” he added.

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert (extended) – North Island West Coast region

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today extended the public health warning against collecting shellfish on the west coast of the North Island in the Taranaki, Waikato, Wanganui, Manawatu, and Horowhenua regions. The warning now extends from the mouth of Port Waikato southward to Te Horo Beach in the Wellington region.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

MPI today also removed the public health warning against collecting shellfish in Nydia Bay Pelorus Sounds

Warnings remain in place for the Bay of Islands and Akaroa Harbour.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note: cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

North Island West coast

New Zealand -Amended shellfish biotoxin warning for the Kenepuru and inner Pelorus Sound

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries today reduced the area subject to a public health warning against collecting shellfish in the Kenepuru and inner Pelorus Sound.  The warning now includes only Nydia Bay in the inner Pelorus Sound.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region still show levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

New Zealand – Further shellfish biotoxin alerts

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning against collecting shellfish in the entire Bay of Islands, extending to the outer heads between Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett.

MPI also extended the public health warning against collecting shellfish on the west coast of the North Island in the Taranaki, Waikato, Wanganui, Manawatu, and Horowhenua regions. The warning now extends from the mouth of Port Waikato southward to the Manawatu River at Foxton Beach. The alert also includes Aotea and Kawhia Harbours but not Port Waikato itself.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from the Bay of Islands region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Warnings are also in place for the Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds, Akaroa Harbour, and the West Coast of the North Island.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Map of Bay of Islands

UK – Scotland -High levels of shellfish toxin

HPS Scotland 

Monitoring work undertaken on behalf of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has identified raised levels of shellfish toxins in Loch Leurbost in Lewis.

Eating shellfish such as mussels, cockles, or razor fish from these areas may pose a risk to human health and notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore. Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have been contacted by the Comhairle (Western Isles Council) and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

The Comhairle is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.

[Source: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, 26 July 2018. https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/news/2018/july/high-levels-of-shellfish-toxin/]

New Zealand – Shellfish biotoxin alert – Taranaki and Waikato region

MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning against collecting shellfish on the west coast of the North Island in the Taranaki and Waikato region. The warning extends from Raglan, including Raglan Harbour, southward to Urenui. The alert also includes Aotea and Kawhia Harbours.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from sites in this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

Warnings remain in place for the Pelorus Sounds and Akaroa Harbour.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

Note: cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.