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In 2016 EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) report on emerging food risks Italy registers high level of deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone. Let’s see why.
The problem: official test and self-monitoring of food business operators conducted on corn and animal feed in the second half of 2014 showed high contamination levels for DON and zearalenone. In particular:
– negative impacts on health and production of animals (mostly pigs) fed corn produced in 2014;
– increase of contamination with DON and zearalenone in feed;
– in the summer of 2014, the increased contamination is combined at lower temperature / high humidity in Northern Italy in lowland areas where they had already recorded similar levels of contamination;
– further concern is the possibility that they can be developed other mycotoxins whose toxicity may be poorly known as well as the methods of analysis insufficient to detect them.
Italy is considering screening of other mycotoxins that could develop in cool, humid summers. Fusarium toxins are already monitored: type A trichothecenes H2 toxin and HT-2 toxin and fumonisin B1 and B2. No increase has been observed in recent years.
Other countries and recommendations
Norway has detected an increase in the average concentration of DON and other Fusarium mycotoxins in cereals in the last ten years. In the presence of moisture, agricultural practices such as monoculture of cereals, the limited use of crop rotation and reduced tillage, contribute to an increased presence of mycotoxins.
Sweden has identified mycotoxins or metabolites in the urine of approximately 250 adults, 2010-2011 data. Detected even mycotoxins simultaneously (two mycotoxins in 40% of samples, three mycotoxins in 27% of samples). Also present were the DON and ochratoxin A (OTA).
Austria has also high levels of DON.
In Denmark were introduced the following risk mitigation measures to cereal farmers, feed mills and pig producers: using corn and wheat less susceptible; deferred collected avoiding (if possible) delays especially in case of rain during flowering; avoid maize as preceding crop for winter wheat; fungicide application to the wheat fields rated as ‘very high risk’; analysis of corn before using it to produce compound feed; in compound feed for pigs keep the corn grain with high DON concentrations below critical levels.