Food Standards Agency
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Survey of mycotoxins published
The Food Standards Agency has published the results of a survey looking at levels of mycotoxins in food. Mycotoxins are chemicals produced by certain moulds.
The majority of the samples tested contained levels of mycotoxins below the legal limits; only one sample had mycotoxin above the legal EU limit. Overall, the results of the survey is reassuring and does not raise any health concerns.
The survey looked at:
mycotoxins in food for infants and young children
ergot alkaloids in cereals and cereal products
patulin in apple juice
The science behind the story
Mycotoxins are a group of naturally-occurring chemicals produced by certain moulds. They can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apple juice and coffee, often under warm and humid conditions. Some of these mycotoxins have been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and kidney damage.
In order to protect consumer safety, rules and strict legislative limits for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin and fusarium toxins in certain foodstuffs are set out in European legislation.