Mycotoxins in Food and Feed: Present Status and Future Concerns
Disease outbreaks due to the consumption of contaminated food and feedstuff are a recurring problem worldwide. The major factor contributing to contamination are microorganisms, especially fungi, which produce low-molecular-weight compounds as secondary metabolites, with confirmed toxic properties referred to as mycotoxins. Several mycotoxins reported to date are cosmopolitan in distribution and incur severe health-associated risks (including cancer and neurological disorders). Hence, creating awareness among consumers, as well as developing new methods for detection and inactivation is of great importance for food safety. In this review, the focus is on the occurrence of various types of mycotoxins in food and feed associated with risks to humans and livestock, as well as legislation put forth by various authorities, and on presently practiced detoxification methods. Brief descriptions on recent developments in mycotoxin detection methodology are also inlcuded. This review is meant to be informative not only for health-conscious consumers but also for experts in the field to pave the way for future research to fill the existing gaps in our knowledge with regard to mycotoxins and food safety.