Food Safety

Food safety regulations miss masked mycotoxins

New research suggests current limits could present health concerns.

Food safety regulations miss masked mycotoxins
Source: North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Science.

According to an article in Chemistry Research in Toxicology, current government limits on mold toxins in grain crops fail to account for so-called “masked mycotoxins,” which transform from harmless when outside the body to potentially harmful when inside it.

Chiara Dall’Asta and colleagues say that mold growing on wheat, corn and other plants produces toxic substances called mycotoxins. Plants protect themselves by conjugating glucose, sulfur or other substances to the mycotoxin, producing conjugated mycotoxins that are not harmful to the grain.

However, Dall’Asta’s research has shown for the first time that bacteria present in the human large intestine deconjugates deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN), the two most widespread mycotoxin contaminants. Once deconjugated, DON and Zen revert to their toxic forms.

Because of this conversion, Dall’Asta suggests, some health experts regard mycotoxins as a more serious chronic dietary risk factor than pesticides and insecticides. Government regulations limit mycotoxin levels in human food and animal feed, but Dall’Asta says further regulation is needed.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

Recent Articles by Shane O'Halloran

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.