The Food Standards Agency has developed a new guide for cereal farmers on codes of practice that will help reduce the levels of mycotoxins in cereals through changes to cultivation and storage
practices. The Agency will this week distribute the guide to over 43,000 cereal farmers in England, with separate distributions across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungi and can be hazardous to human and animal health, even at low concentrations. Mycotoxins can get into the human food supply as a result of the
growth of specific fungi on food crops, either in the field or in storage.
Two codes of practice have been developed in response to a new European Union (EU) recommendation. As the regulatory body for food safety in the UK, the Food Standards Agency is responsible for
the implementation and application of EU legislation. The first code of practice deals with the reduction of fusarium mycotoxins in the field, while the second provides advice on practices to
minimise the formation of ochratoxin A in stored grain.
Wendy Matthews, Head of the Agency’s Mycotoxin Branch, said: ‘It’s important that farmers control the production of any mycotoxins in their cereals, as their presence in food can be harmful to
human health. This new guide is designed to be informative and practical for farmers and will help reduce the risks to consumers. But farmers will also benefit by producing good-quality cereals
and minimising any wastage from unfit crops – so it’s good news for consumers and farmers.’
The guide has been informed by Agency research looking at mycotoxin formation.