Climate change has been widely reported to be the driving force behind emerging food and feed safety issues worldwide.
Its potential impact on crops over the next century has been outlined in a new report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme, with a particular focus on the probability of widespread aflatoxin contamination.
The report states that aflatoxin B1 is set to become a food and feed safety issue in Europe due to the rise in global temperatures. Particularly high in maize, critical and high cases of aflatoxin contamination are predicted in some areas of southern European countries such as Greece, Southern Italy, Albania, and Bulgaria, where maize production is marginal but important for the local population. Northern European countries are currently in the safe zone but may face new climatic conditions leading to a surge in aflatoxin cases.
Aflatoxin B1 is both genotoxic and carcinogenic, and presents the highest acute and chronic toxicity of all mycotoxins. It is produced by the key fungus Aspergillus flavus and thrives in warm and dry weather conditions.
Official European Commission control measures contribute to the global effort to reduce risks to human and animal health due to exposure from feed or food intake. The UNEP recommends that specific action plans need to be directed to the production chain, including drying seeds properly and regularly screening for contamination. The need to monitor mycotoxins has created a demand for rapid, reliable and sensitive screening methods, which fit expertly into the production process.
One of the best solutions available on the market today is Biochip Array Technology from Randox Food Diagnostics. It is suitable for use in all stages, from production through to final product.
The multi-analyte biochip technology uses micro-spotting techniques to simultaneously detect and provide quantitative results for up to 10 mycotoxins from a single sample, including aflatoxin B1/B2 and aflatoxin G1/G2, ergot alkaloids, ochratoxin A, fumonisins, deoxynivalenol, diacetoxyscirpenol, T2 toxin, zearalenone and paxilline. This offers major benefits in comparison to traditional methods without compromising on quality, including minimal sample preparation and significant cost savings.
Randox Food also offer an aflatoxin B1 ELISA and its ELISAs are produced to the highest standard.