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Indian J Med Res. 2018 Nov;148(5):488-495. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1692_18.

Journey from food toxins to food safety: Transition over a century in service of nation.

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Food Toxicology Division, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India.


Since the first report of lathyrism in 1926, the ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) at Hyderabad, India, has made tremendous contributions in the field of food toxins/food safety for the benefit of the people. The present article highlights the Institute's work on various food toxins/foodborne diseases since its inception and discusses the important contributions made in the context of public health protection that formed the basis for several national policies on their prevention and control. The investigations on food toxins, in the initial decades, were limited to the description of lathyrism and its endemicity. Subsequently, the horizon was broadened to include the problem of mycotoxins and mycotoxicosis, which had received global attention and variety of other disease outbreaks investigations leading to total food safety transition in the forthcoming decades. Important contributions in epidemiological investigations, reproduction of the disease in experimental animals, surveillance and monitoring studies, development of methods for detection of food toxins and contaminants, evolving strategies for prevention and control and developing the concept of risk assessment and risk management for addressing food safety issues in the country are discussed.


Disease outbreaks; food contaminants; food safety; food toxins; lathyrism; mycotoxins

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