MYCOTOXIN CONTAMINATION IN THE FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN
Mycotoxins are poisonous compounds produced by certain species of fungi growing on grain and feed products when stored in unsafe moisture content conditions. Mycotoxins cause, at very low dosages (parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb)), a variety of human and animal health problems. The ingestion of mycotoxins can produce both short-term and chronic toxicities ranging from death to chronic interferences of the central nervous, cardiovascular, pulmonary systems, and of the alimentary tract.
The mycotoxins have attracted worldwide attention, over the past 30 years, firstly because of their perceived impact on human health, secondly because of the economic losses accruing from condemned foods/feeds and decreased animal productivity and, thirdly, because of the serious impact of mycotoxin contamination on internationally traded commodities. It is estimated, for example, that the cost of managing the mycotoxin problem on the North American continent is approximately $5 billion.
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