Mycotoxin analysis in food
From January 2011 newsletter
Sampling and analysis of cereals are undertaken to demonstrate legal compliance, to verify the efficacy of control measures, and to demonstrate commercial compliance. We have recently evaluated the current status of mycotoxin analysis – which will prove very important for the cereals industry as it seeks to further improve the quality and safety of grain raw materials. Whilst there are reference methods for analysis of mycotoxins in foodstuffs, there are no specific protocols. However, any test used to determine compliance with legislation must comply with pre–defined performance criteria.
Commercial compliance and reliability
Rapid test kits are generally used for demonstrating commercial compliance and for auditing the control of contamination, throughout production and storage. Relatively few rapid kits are accredited by external bodies such as AOAC and USDA/GIPSA. This is likely to remain the case, as validation must be performed separately for each matrix, and can be a costly and lengthy process. The reliability of the results of any analytical technique rests heavily on the efficacy of the protocols used in selecting a representative sample. Attempts are being made to harmonise mycotoxin analysis methods, which should improve quality management.
Contact: Gemma Chope
The advent of these new methods will complement the analytical service that we provide, using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry, which is capable of detecting very low levels of mycotoxins.