Mycotoxins not only occur in every grain-growing region of the world, but can also inhabit virtually every feed ingredient from whole grains to milling byproducts, oil meals, and ethanol co-products.
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of mould. A global survey program conducted between 2004 and 2013 uncovered mycotoxin contamination in over 76 percent of the 25,900 feed and feed ingredient samples that were tested. Moulds that can produce mycotoxins grow on feed and numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. Mould growth can occur either before harvest or after harvest, during storage, on/in the food itself often under warm, damp and humid conditions. Most mycotoxins are chemically stable and survive processing.
Several hundred different mycotoxins have been identified, but the most commonly observed mycotoxins that present a concern to human health and livestock include aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, fumonisins, zearalenone and nivalenol/deoxynivalenol. Mycotoxins appear in the food chain as a result of mould infection of crops both before and after harvest. Exposure to mycotoxins can happen either directly by eating infected food or indirectly from animals that are fed contaminated feed, in particular from milk.
Mycotoxin contamination is a global threat to human health. To solve this problem, a full value chain approach from the field across the whole process line to the finished product is needed. Grain cleaning is a significant part of this.