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Food Addit Contam. 2003 May;20(5):482-9.

Patulin in domestic and imported apple-based drinks in Belgium: occurrence and exposure assessment.

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Unité de Biochimie de la Nutrition, Faculté d'Ingénierie biologique, agronomique et environmentale, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


Apple-based beverages are regularly consumed by adults and children in Belgium. They are locally produced or imported from other countries. The apples used as starting material for these productions are frequently contaminated by mycotoxin-producing moulds and damaged during transport and handling. The current study was undertaken to investigate whether patulin (PAT) is present in the industrial or handicraft-made apple juices and ciders consumed by the Belgian population and to assess the population's exposure to this mycotoxin through apple-based drinks. Belgian (n = 29) and imported (14) apple juices as well as ciders (7) were assayed for PAT by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet light detection. PAT was detected respectively in 79, 86 and 43% of these tested samples. However, no contaminated sample exceeded the safe level of 50 microg PAT l(-1). Levels of PAT contamination were comparable in Belgian and imported juice samples. The overall mean PAT concentrations were 9.0 and 3.4 microg l(-1) for contaminated apple juices and ciders, respectively. This study also indicates that there was no statistically significant difference in the mean PAT contamination between clear (7.8 microg l(-1)) and cloudy (10.7 microg l(-1)) apple juices, as well as between handicraft-made apple juices (14.6 microg l(-1)) and industrial ones (7.0 microg l(-1)). On the basis of the mean results, a consumer exposure assessment indicates that a daily intake of 0.2 litres apple juice contributes to 45% of the provisional maximum tolerable daily intake for a child of 10 kg body weight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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