Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Improvement in the determination of ochratoxin-A in farm animals, products and cereals

Ochratoxin A (OA), a mycotoxin, is a suspect kidney carcinogen and has been shown to have teratogenic activity. Its occurrence as a consequence of fungal attack in foods from plant origin such as cereals and beans is well known and widely reported in the scientific literature. The presence of OA in edible animal tissues and particularly in pig kidneys, as a result of consumption of contaminated feed has been demonstrated in Denmark and Sweden. Recently, individual member states have begun to set up tolerance limits. A guideline for cereals exists in France and in the United Kingdom and industrial limit for cereals is used. The project was set up to improve the reliability of the methods to determine OA and to provide blank and naturally contaminated wheat and lyophilised pig kidney reference materials (RM).

A pair of wheat reference materials have been prepared. They consist of naturally contaminated samples containing the toxin at levels close to the recommended (voluntary) action limits, and samples having low levels to provide a means of checking analytical background and recovery efficiency. An intercomparison study with about 30 European laboratories was carried out and the results showed that the major difficulties arise from the clean up step of the method used.

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Benedicte HALD
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