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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 1:95-101.

Mycotoxins in the food chain: human health implications.

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School of Animal Studies, University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia.


Mycotoxins are secondary fungal metabolites that can be produced in crops and other food commodities both pre- and post-harvest. When ingested, mycotoxins may cause a mycotoxicosis which can result in an acute or chronic disease episode. Chronic conditions have a much greater impact, numerically, on human health globally. Reduced growth and development, immunosuppression and cancer are chronic effects that have a higher incidence following continual exposure to low level mycotoxin ingestion as is experienced in many developing countries. It has been estimated that 25% of the world's crops are affected by mould or fungal growth and as stable, natural contaminants of the food chain, mycotoxin reduction requires a multifaceted approach, including farmers, government agencies, food processors and scientists. This can have a significant impact on the cost of food production. International regulatory standards for mycotoxins in food commodities determines the extent of global trade in contaminated commodities.

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