Evaluation of Agronomic Practices for Mitigation of Natural Toxins

ILSI Europe Report Series. 2010:1-48

The problem of contamination by natural toxins and the hazards to health of consuming spoilt foodstuffs have been recognised since historical times. Natural toxins have been studied widely but have received particular attention in the last three decades.

Levels of natural toxins (inherent plant toxins1, mycotoxins and some phycotoxins in freshwater) in agricultural commodities are likely to be affected by the agronomic practices that the crops or their environments are subject to. It is important to recognise that Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) represents the primary line of defence against the
contamination of food products by inherent plant toxins and mycotoxins. GAP must be accompanied by the implementation of good manufacturing practice (GMP) during the handling, storage, processing and distribution of cereals for human food and animal feed.

In order to explore this important field, this report considers examples of the influence of different factors on two major food crops and of some specific mycotoxins, as well as available data on inherent plant toxins. Attention is drawn to those areas where data are scarce. The term “inherent plant toxins” is used in this paper because most of the examples presented focus on plant compounds that cause a toxic effect at the levels found in the plant.

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