Baby foods examined for Evira were within limits set for Fusarium toxins

28.4.2009

<div>In 2008, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira had the levels of naturally occurring mycotoxins produced by Fusarium fungi in baby foods and different maize products examined. No mycotoxins were detected in the baby foods examined, with the exception of some porridge products, which contained low levels of deoxynivalenol (DON). Fumonisins were detected especially in corn meal, tortilla chips and nachos. All of the examined samples were within the set limits, and they do not cause a health hazard to the health of the consumer.</div>

For the purpose of the study 58 samples of cereal and maize based baby foods and 20 different maize products, such as corn on the cob and corn chips were collected.

The levels of fumonisins in maize based products were examined, as these mycotoxins are known to occur especially in maize. Maize is also a common raw material in baby foods. Cereal based and other baby foods were examined for deoxynivalenol (DON) and HT-2 and T-2 toxins which occur to varying degrees in different cereal varieties. The maximum tolerable intake has been set for DON and fumonisins in food and baby food. Legislation is currently being developed in the EU for T-2 and HT-2 toxins.

No fumonisins, T-2 or HT-2 toxins were detected in the examined baby foods. In some porridge products low levels of DON were detected. 35 % of the other examined products contained fumonisins. Elevated levels were detected especially in corn meal, tortilla chips and nachos. All of the examined samples were within the set limits, and they do not cause a health hazard to the consumer.

Fusarium moulds are very common in cereals and maize and produce toxic mycotoxins as secondary metabolites. Some of the most common Fusarium toxins are deoxynivalenol, zearalenone and T-2 and HT-2 toxins. Long-term exposure to Fusarium toxins can cause health side effects, such as weakened defence mechanisms of the body. Acute cases of poisoning are rare. The symptoms are for example nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

For additional information, please contact:
Senior Officer Ulla Karlström, (control monitoring of Fusarium toxins),
tel. +358 (0) 20 7724288, +358 (0) 40 48 777 98

Research Professor Anja Hallikainen, (risk assessment of Fusarium toxins)
tel. +358 (0) 20 77242 87, +358 (0) 50 3868433


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