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Towards safer cereal

Increasing market needs demand the efficient and high quality production of grain-containing products. European stakeholders joined forces to improve existing methodologies of toxicity detection in cereal products.
Towards safer cereal
The grain processing industry is entering a new era, facing adaptation to new EU regulations. A number of toxicity problems have been identified during the final product quality assurance. These include the presence of mycotoxins, pesticides and the formation of acrylamide – serious health hazards which need to be eliminated. However, current laboratory analysis methods to detect toxic substances are laborious and expensive, hampering the efficiency of flour production and increasing final processing costs.

With food safety in mind, the EU-funded ‘Measure and control of mycotoxins, pesticides and acrylamide in grain milling sector’ (MAP-Milling) project aimed to improve current practices in the grain milling industry. The goal was to adjust to new regulations and increase the quality and reliability of products.

As a first step, consortium members identified the needs and requirements for the detection of pollutants in cereal products and set up technical specifications for the measurement techniques required. Improved methods based on the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were designed and developed for some target pesticides found in cereal. Additionally, a variety of new mycotoxin measurement systems were developed and compared for a quick, low-cost and reliable prediction of Aspergillus and Helicoverpa zea pests.

Through conferences and workshops, the MAP-Milling consortium ensured appropriate training of agro-food stakeholders regarding key pollutants found in flour as well as dissemination of its findings. An open source software tool was also developed for appropriate integration of project results.

Implementation of the MAP-Milling deliverables to the milling sector is expected to improve detection of flour-associated toxicities and significantly upgrade the quality of products.

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