Mycotoxins

 

Due diligence checking for mycotoxins

The UK Malting Industry is committed to ensuring that its products conform to the highest quality and safety standards.  It has therefore been working for many years to reduce levels of contaminants, which are sometimes unavoidable in agricultural crops, to levels which are as low as possible.  In addition, the sector takes the initiative to monitor for contaminants which may become a problem, or which may enter legislative control from UK or European law.

Mycotoxins are contaminants which can occur in cereal grains as a result of mould infection.  This can occur both in the growing crop (field fungi) and during grain storage (storage mould).  There are many different mycotoxins.  In the UK, the Malting Industry has developed systems to safeguard its raw materials and its products against mould infections and mycotoxin production.  Only the highest quality barley is selected.  Harvested grain is dried to around 12% moisture for long term storage.  This is too dry to allow moulds to flourish.  Best practice guidelines have been developed for drying and storing malting barley, in conjunction with the UK's AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Grain Storage Guide (Third Edition 2011).

Member companies of the MAGB collaborate to survey each year’s barley crop according to a current assessment of the risk posed by various contaminants. This survey, internal to the sector, is subsequently published on the MAGB website. Taken with the food safety monitoring survey conducted by the AHDB in co-operation with maltsters, a comprehensive picture is gained of mycotoxins in the UK malting barley crop. Trends can be observed from year to year, to assist in building the bigger picture and to modify future risk assessments. These surveys show that levels of mycotoxins in UK malts are very low – but vigilance will remain key to ensure that the situation remains this way.

 

The results detailed above were carried out for MAGB by FERA Scientific Ltd, York, as part of the annual AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds funded survey work on the food safety of cereals in each crop year. For a workbook showing all the results of the mycotoxin survey work as part of the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds funded survey click here

For a workbook showing all the results of the annual MAGB Due Diligence Scheme mycotoxins survey work on the food safety of cereals in each crop year click here

 

Members can access due diligence results for the latest harvest crop here

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