Category Archives: Fusarium Toxin

Ireland – Recall of batches of popcorn kernels due to elevated levels of Aflatoxin


Category 1: For Action
Alert Notification: 2023.06
Product: Please see table below.
Batch Code: Please see table below.
Country Of Origin: Turkey


The below batches of various brands of popcorn kernels are being recalled due to elevated levels of aflatoxin. Recall notices will be displayed at point-of-sale in stores supplied with the implicated batches.

Nature Of Danger:

Aflatoxin is one of a group of a naturally occurring chemicals (mycotoxins) produced by certain moulds. They can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs, often under warm and humid conditions.

Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects in humans including cancer (some are genotoxic), kidney and liver damage, gastrointestinal disturbances, reproductive disorders, or suppression of the immune system. Mycotoxins are naturally occurring, so their presence in foods cannot be completely avoided.

Action Required:

Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, caterers & retailers:

Retailers are requested to remove the implicated batches from sale and display recall notices at point-of-sale.


Consumers are advised not to eat the implicated batches.

Table Popcorn
Popcorn 1
Popcorn 2

Research – Bacteriological Quality and Biotoxin Profile of Ready-to-Eat Foods Vended in Lagos, Nigeria



A comprehensive study of bacterial and biotoxin contaminants of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods in Nigeria is yet to be reported. Hence, this study applied 16S rRNA gene sequencing and a dilute-and-shoot LC-MS/MS method to profile bacteria and biotoxins, respectively, in 199 RTE food samples comprising eko (n = 30), bread (n = 30), shawarma (n = 35), aadun (n = 35), biscuits (n = 34), and kokoro (n = 35). A total of 631 bacterial isolates, clustered into seven operational taxonomic units, namely AcinetobacterBacillusKlebsiellaProteus and KosakoniaKurthia, and Yokenella, that are reported for the first time were recovered from the foods. One hundred and eleven metabolites comprising mycotoxins and other fungal metabolites, phytoestrogenic phenols, phytotoxins, and bacterial metabolites were detected in the foods. Aflatoxins, fumonisins, and ochratoxins contaminated only the artisanal foods (aaduneko, and kokoro), while deoxynivalenol and zearalenone were found in industrially-processed foods (biscuit, bread, and shawarma), and citrinin was present in all foods except eko. Mean aflatoxin (39.0 µg/kg) in artisanal foods exceeded the 10 µg/kg regulatory limit adopted in Nigeria by threefold. Routine surveillance, especially at the informal markets; food hygiene and safety education to food processors and handlers; and sourcing of high-quality raw materials are proposed to enhance RTE food quality and safeguard consumer health.

Research – Human Pathogens in Primary Production Systems


Human pathogenic micro-organisms can contaminate plants. Plants whose products can be consumed freshly or after minimal processing are of specific concern. It is under debate whether contaminations only occur at harvest or the after harvest processing of crops, or if they can already occur at the primary plant production stages.
Plants may be considered as secondary habitats for human pathogens [1], and, although they do not possess the full capacity to invade and colonize internal tissues of plants, like plant pathogens and endophytes do [2], they are still capable of maintaining themselves in the neighborhood of, and even inside, plants [3], and to proliferate in these ecosystems. Human pathogens can respond to chemical signals from plants [4] and, from that perspective, human pathogens may share properties with other micro-organisms commonly present in plant microbiomes. From an evolutionary perspective, it make sense that particular groups of zoonotic species are able to use plants as secondary habitats. These microbes can be transferred via feces among different flocks that graze on the same land [5]. Longer persistence on grazed plants may contribute to a wider distribution over different flocks. It is an important message for plant production that microbial interconnectivity will exist between ecosystems and that human pathogens can circulate between animals and plants when animal manure is applied to soil for fertilization [6]. Water used for irrigation is another human pathogen source in agricultural production systems, especially when derived from surface water bodies [7]. Human pathogens can contaminate surface water via drainage from arable fields recently fertilized with animal manure [8], but also from sewage overflow after severe precipitation [9] and wildlife [10].
The contamination of plant-derived products with human pathogens thus does not only result from harvest and post-harvest handlings, but can also occur at the primary production stage. The network activities of the EU COST Action on the control of human pathogens in plant production systems (HUPLANTcontrol) comprehended important aspects that were intended to gain a better understanding on the role of human pathogens in plant microbiomes in relation to ecology, taxonomical identity, and presumed virulence to humans. This information was relevant for the formulation of recommendations and guidelines to growers, but also to provide public information on the consequences of the presence of human pathogens in plant production systems. This Special Issue was dedicated to the main objectives of our network activities and resulted in seven manuscripts that are related to the topic of human pathogens in their relationship with plants.
It was shown that Escherichia coli, introduced via manure and seeds in production systems, had a higher preference for the root zone (roots and rhizosphere soil) than for the above-soil compartments [11,12]. Although different E. coli strains were incidentally found in stem parts shortly after their introduction, their abundance rapidly declined to levels below detection, whereas near, on, and inside roots, the introduced strains remained present up to plant senescence. As both experiments were performed under field-realistic circumstances, the key message derived from both manuscripts is critical for practice, because it would imply that plant roots are potential carriers of human pathogens once they are disseminated into production systems via external sources. The ability for microbial species to jump over from plant to animal kingdoms was indicated for two taxonomically distinct micro-organisms, Fusarium musae [13] and Bacillus cereus [14]. Namely, F. musae strains with the same genetic profile could infect both humans and plants (banana fruit), whereas B. cereus strains derived from 17 different agricultural soils sampled across Europe possessed genes that are potentially involved in human pathogenicity. Both studies made clear that human pathogens in plant production systems do not necessarily originate from external sources, but can be intrinsic members of soil and plant ecosystems. Soil treatment with composted sewage sludge resulted in a shift in the soil microbiome composition [15]. Salmonella enterica survived longer when simultaneously applied with composted sewage sludge to soil than when applied separately via irrigation. Changes in microbiomes as a result of soil amendments may thus influence the persistence of human pathogens in food production soils, and this information is relevant for understanding the mechanisms behind the soil persistence of human pathogens. Finally, it revealed that plants themselves can influence the behavior of human pathogens. Upon plant inoculation, flagellin expression was down-regulated in a vast majority of S. enterica cells, whereas high expression was found in a subfraction of the introduced population [16]. Heterogenous flagellin expression is an adaptational strategy of S. enterica inside plants. Plants defend themselves upon colonization by human pathogens via activating defensive networks [17]. Bioactive compounds produced by plants antagonize human pathogens in plants, offering new opportunities for the control of human pathogens in plant production systems.
The seven manuscripts in this Special Issue provide new and important information on the ecological behavior of human pathogens in the plant–soil environment and the roles that microbiomes play. They also demonstrated that plant microbiomes themselves harbor species that can potentially cross plant–animal frontiers and that the plant environment is a specific ecosystem where human pathogens are able to adapt to local prevailing circumstances. Valuable information was provided for further translation into practical recommendations, which is needed for the control of human pathogens in, or nearby, growing plants. Finally, the information provided is relevant for the transition towards extensive and circular agricultural production systems. The use of animal manure and other organic waste streams and reclaimed water as alternatives for fertilizers and irrigation water will become more opportune in this transition, affecting the introduction of human pathogens into plant production systems.

Kenyans warned against eating meat from animals fed with contaminated maize

The Star

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation has warned Kenyans against consuming livestock, and chicken from animals fed with contaminated maize.

Kalro director general, Dr Eliud Kireger told the Star on Tuesday that contaminated maize that is given to livestock passes over residual effects to humans.

“The residual effects are passed on to humans through the consumption of related products including milk, eggs and meat,” he said.

He said aflatoxin is a fungal toxin that commonly contaminates maize and other types of crops during production, harvest, storage or processing.

In Kenya, acute aflatoxin poisoning results in liver failure and death in up to 40 per cent of cases.

In May 2006, an outbreak of acute aflatoxicosis was reported in the Makueni, Tharakanithi and Machakos regions of Kenya where aflatoxin contamination of homegrown maize was a recurrent problem.

Research – Biocontrol Potential of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus tequilensis against Four Fusarium Species



The use of biological control agents as opposed to synthetic agrochemicals to control plant pathogens has gained momentum, considering their numerous advantages. The aim of this study is to investigate the biocontrol potential of plant bacterial isolates against Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium proliferatum, Fusarium culmorum, and Fusarium verticillioides. Isolation, identification, characterization, and in vitro biocontrol antagonistic assays of these isolates against Fusarium species were carried out following standard protocols. The bacterial endophytes were isolated from Glycine max. L leaves (B1), Brassica napus. L seeds (B2), Vigna unguiculata seeds (B3), and Glycine max. L seeds (B4). The bacterial isolates were identified using 16S rRNA PCR sequencing. A phylogenetic analysis shows that the bacterial isolates are closely related to Bacillus subtilis (B1) and Bacillus tequilensis (B2–B4), with an identity score above 98%. All the bacterial isolates produced a significant amount (p < 0.05) of indole acetic acid (IAA), siderophores, and protease activity. In vitro antagonistic assays of these isolates show a significant (p < 0.05) growth inhibition of the fungal mycelia in the following order: F. proliferatum > F. culmorum > F. verticillioides > F. oxysporum, compared to the control. The results suggest that these bacterial isolates are good biocontrol candidates against the selected Fusarium species.

Research – Mycotoxin survey: Watch out for exposure from dirty maize

Irish Examiner

If you’re feeding maize, you likely have a mycotoxin problem on your farm, delegates at a recent ruminant nutrition were told.

Breaking down the results of this year’s mycotoxin survey, Laura Quinn, Ruminant Technical Species Expert at DSM, said: “When plants get stressed – whether that be drought, weather-related or disease – they can be vulnerable to being attacked by fungi, and mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites which are released by the fungi.

“They are in almost all agricultural commodities worldwide. They are very stable, can persist in heat and are resistant to any processing at feed mills.”

Biomin and DSM have run the survey since 2004.

The firm analyses over 20,000 samples a year and offers localised predictions for mycotoxins based on weather patterns.

“Mycotoxins are anti-protozoal, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which is great for disinfectant, but considering in the rumen we are trying to use these to break down feed materials to produce milk, we don’t want them having that effect in the cow.”

In dairy animals, mycotoxins have been linked with reduced feed intake, lower milk yields, liver inflammation, lower vaccine efficacy, and lower fatty acid production, among other production and health issues.

There are currently more than 1,000 mycotoxins identified, with more being discovered by scientists all the time.

Research – Latest EU audit questions Turkish approach to control mycotoxins


An audit carried out between the months of May and June 2022 by the General Directorate of Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission on the official controls that Turkey applies in relation to mycotoxins in dried figs and pistachios concludes that they are not effective. This conclusion fully coincides with the alerts and rejections at the border level that are notified through the Rapid Alert Network for Feed and Food (RASFF), where figs and pistachios from Turkey are prominent players due to the presence of aflatoxins.

It should be noted that the EU establishes that each shipment of dried figs and pistachios coming from Turkey or through Turkey must have a health certificate issued by the authorities, as well as the results of official sampling that demonstrate compliance with the requirements on maximum levels. of aflatoxins. It should be remembered that no level has been established for Ochratoxin A in dried figs. Figs from Turkey are subject to a 20% analysis frequency by EU countries, while it is 50% for pistachios.

There is a decreasing trend of rejection decisions based on Turkish pre-export tests. This fact contrasts with the results obtained in the controls carried out by the EU countries. In short, the ability of the Turkish control system to ensure that all shipments of exported dried figs and pistachios have been produced in accordance with EU regulations is called into question.

The auditors found that official controls are not designed to verify and control whether farmers implement mycotoxin control measures. Reports on official controls, including the effectiveness of HACCP schemes and controls carried out by processors, are also poor.

Research – Major Soilborne Pathogens of Field Processing Tomatoes and Management Strategies



Globally, tomato is the second most cultivated vegetable crop next to potato, preferentially grown in temperate climates. Processing tomatoes are generally produced in field conditions, in which soilborne pathogens have serious impacts on tomato yield and quality by causing diseases of the tomato root system. Major processing tomato-producing countries have documented soilborne diseases caused by a variety of pathogens including bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and oomycetes, which are of economic importance and may threaten food security. Recent field surveys in the Australian processing tomato industry showed that plant growth and yield were significantly affected by soilborne pathogens, especially Fusarium oxysporum and Pythium species. Globally, different management methods have been used to control diseases such as the use of resistant tomato cultivars, the application of fungicides, and biological control. Among these methods, biocontrol has received increasing attention due to its high efficiency, target-specificity, sustainability and public acceptance. The application of biocontrol is a mix of different strategies, such as applying antagonistic microorganisms to the field, and using the beneficial metabolites synthesized by these microorganisms. This review provides a broad review of the major soilborne fungal/oomycete pathogens of the field processing tomato industry affecting major global producers, the traditional and biological management practices for the control of the pathogens, and the various strategies of the biological control for tomato soilborne diseases. The advantages and disadvantages of the management strategies are discussed, and highlighted is the importance of biological control in managing the diseases in field processing tomatoes under the pressure of global climate change.

Composition-Based Risk Estimation of Mycotoxins in Dry Dog Foods



The risk of mycotoxins co-occurrence in extrusion-produced dry foods increases due to their composition based on various grains and vegetables. This study aimed to validate a risk estimation for the association between ingredients and the ELISA-detected levels of DON, FUM, ZEA, AFs, T2, and OTA in 34 dry dog food products. The main ingredients were corn, beet, and oil of different origins (of equal frequency, 79.41%), rice (67.6%), and wheat (50%). DON and FUM had the strongest positive correlation (0.635, = 0.001). The presence of corn in the sample composition increased the median DON and ZEA levels, respectively, by 99.45 μg/kg and 65.64 μg/kg, p = 0.011. In addition to DON and ZEA levels, integral corn presence increased the FUM median levels by 886.61 μg/kg, = 0.005. For corn gluten flour-containing samples, DON, FUM, and ZEA median differences still existed, and OTA levels also differed by 1.99 μg/kg, < 0.001. Corn gluten flour presence was strongly associated with DON levels >403.06 μg/kg (OR = 38.4, RR = 9.90, = 0.002), FUM levels >1097.56 μg/kg (OR = 5.56, RR = 1.45, = 0.048), ZEA levels >136.88 μg/kg (OR = 23.00, RR = 3.09, = 0.002), and OTA levels >3.93 μg/kg (OR = 24.00, RR = 3.09, = 0.002). Our results suggest that some ingredients or combinations should be avoided due to their risk of increasing mycotoxin levels.

Research – Evaluation of the dietary exposure of the Catalan population to mycotoxins of the genus Fusarium


Within the framework of total diet studies, the Catalan Food Safety Agency (ACSA) publishes a second study on the evaluation of mycotoxins: “Evaluation of the dietary exposure of the Catalan population to mycotoxins of the genus Fusarium”.

In 2014, a first study was published in which the presence of the main mycotoxins in food intended for human consumption in the Catalan market was determined, and the intake of food linked to this contamination to estimate the food exposure of the population residing in Catalonia, and evaluate the risk to health (ACSA, 2014). Considering the results obtained, the ACSA considered it necessary to carry out this second, more specific study on mycotoxins, evaluating those that were found most frequently in the foods of the Catalan market, the mycotoxins of the genus Fusarium, and also taking into account the most exposed population groups.

The present study shows that the mycotoxins detected with greater frequency were DON and ENNB followed, with a much lower frequency, by mycotoxin T-2 and mycotoxins FB1 and DON-3G. The rest of mycotoxins analyzed (3-ADON, 15-ADON, NIV, FUS-X, zearalenone, HT-2, FB2 and FB3) will always present levels below the detection limit.

All the age groups evaluated have an exposure to DON and ENNB lower than the respective safety values. The average exposure of the adult population and children in Catalonia to the mycotoxin DON presents values ​​between 7.5% and 10.1% of the safety value. The average exposure of the population to ENNB presents values ​​​​that are two orders of magnitude lower than the extrapolated safety values.

Total diet studies make it possible to better understand the reality linked to the main chemical pollutants that reach the Catalan market, and in this way specific decisions can be made to correct possible risk situations for the health of consumers.