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Keyword 4 - Emerging mycotoxins

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Background

Mycotoxins are a group of chemical substances that are produced by toxigenic moulds that commonly grow on a number of crops. Based on previous risk assessments, the European Commission defined maximum levels for several mycotoxins in a wide variety of foodstuffs and plant products. Several studies demonstrated that for Europe mycotoxins concern mainly a border problem from imported dried or semi dried plant products e.g. cereals, dried fruits and spices. However, it is recently reported that fresh produce can be associated with risks related to new emerging mycotoxins, e.g. mycotoxins produced by Alternaria spp..

Veg-i-Trade approach

Veg-i-Trade puts the focus on emerging mycotoxins (e.g. alternariol, ochratoxine A, patulin,...) in fresh produce and derived products (e.g. tomatoes, bell peppers, soft red fruits and apples). Based on data collection from dedicated screening and lab studies along with information exchange on production, storage and handling practices of fresh produce between partners involved in Veg-i-Trade, farm-to-fork risk assessment models will be developed enabling to predict mycotoxin concentrations in a selection of fresh produce and derived products.
These studies will be the basis for evaluation of possible interventions in the (global) farm-to-fork chain to mitigate this risk in view of a changing climate and growing intra-community (within EU between Member States) and global trade of these foods. Risk assessment studies will enable to estimate the risk of dietary exposure to these mycotoxins.