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Food Safety Standard for Ochratoxins Detection

Ochratoxin is one of the mycotoxins. It is a toxic metabolite produced by food, feed, and other agricultural and by-products that are infected by toxin-producing strains such as Penicillium greenus and Aspergillus niger. Ochratoxins are widely found in various foods, including grains and their by-products, cocoa, coffee, meat, milk, dried fruits, condiments, alcohol, tea, and the like. Ochratoxin poses a great threat to human and animal health. It can cause kidney atrophy, fetal malformation, abortion and death in test animals, and it is highly carcinogenic. In 1993, the International Cancer Research Agency designated ochratoxin A is considered a possible carcinogen for humans. Ochratoxin has a close relationship with human health and is one of the main pollutants in the diets of some European countries, so it has attracted widespread attention worldwide.

Properties of Ochratoxin

Ochratoxin belongs to the group of secondary metabolites toxins and is produced by several fungi of the genus Aspergillus or Penicillium. It belongs to weak organic acids and is a derivative of isocoumarin. Ochratoxins are classified into A, B, and C. The three have little difference in chemical structure, but are quite different in toxicity. Among them, ochratoxin A is the most common and the most toxic, which mainly affects the kidneys. Ochratoxin A is mainly produced by ochratoxin in crops. The fungus grows in tropical and subtropical humid and hot places and pollutes coffee beans, cocoa beans, spices, dried vine fruits, grape juice and wine. Ochratoxin A produced by crops is mainly produced by ochratoxin, which usually infects coffee beans during drying, which contaminates the coffee beans; ochratoxin A is more stable in nature and cannot be destroyed by general cooking methods, but during grains processing and roasting, cleaning, scrubbing, and bran removal can remove ochratoxin, such as white bread up to 75%, and roasted coffee beans can remove some of the ochratoxin.

Toxicity of Ochratoxin A

The toxicity of ochratoxin A to animals is mainly renal toxicity and liver toxicity. The kidney is the main target organ for toxic effects of ochratoxin, ochratoxin A has potential nephrotoxicity to many animals. Ochratoxin A can cause acute and chronic kidney damage. Balkan endemic nephropathy is a disease originally found to be associated with eating ochratoxin-contaminated food. Ochratoxin A levels in food in the Balkan endemic nephropathy areas were significantly higher than in other regions, and ochratoxin A concentrations in blood were also higher than in other regions.

Ochratoxin Contamination and Monitoring in Common Foods

Ochratoxin A is mainly present in cereals and cereal products. The European Commission’s assessment found that people in European countries mainly consume ochratoxin A from this type of food, which accounts for 50% of the total dietary intake. In addition to cereals and cereal products, ochratoxin A also exists in other foods, including coffee, cocoa, wine, beer, beans, spices, dried fruits, grape juice, tea, pork loin, and other meats and meats of non-ruminant animals that eat feed contaminated with this mycotoxin product. Ruminants such as cattle and sheep can generally resist the effects of ochratoxin A. Before ochratoxin A is absorbed by the blood, it has been hydrolyzed by the ruminant’s stomach into non-toxic metabolites.

There are some cases. For example, on September 26, 2019, Poland notified raisins ochratoxin originating in China through RASFF A failed; in August 2019, the United Kingdom notified the raisin ochratoxin A of raisin origin in Turkey through RASFF. In February 2017, the Netherlands notified the United States through RASFF. A batch of pistachio ochratoxin A was unsatisfactory; in January 2016, South Korea recalled chili powder products such as „ochratoxin A“ mycotoxins that exceeded the residue limit standard.

Limit control of ochratoxin

At present, more than 40 countries and regions in the world have set limits for ochratoxin A in grains and their products, fruit wine, dried fruits, and infant foods, but only countries such as Cuba, Singapore, and Italy have formulated ochratoxin in coffee (limit value is 2.5-50μg / kg). The limit value of ochratoxin A in coffee in Taiwan, China, revised and published in September 2012 was 5 μg / kg. In addition, in 2005, the EU stipulated that the limit for wine and wine or grapes used for beverage production is 2.0 μg / kg; the content of grape juice in grape juice and other beverages is 2.0 μg / kg. The International Organization of Grape and Wine (OIV) sets the limit of OTA in wine at 2 μg / kg.

In the GB2761-2017 edition, according to the risk assessment report for ochratoxin A in European foods, it has been pointed out that human intake of ochratoxin A mainly comes from cereals, and also wine and coffee. Based on the contamination of ochratoxin A in wine and coffee in China and product consumption, the exposure risk was evaluated. According to the results of the risk assessment, GB2761-2017 added the limit requirements for ochratoxin A in wine and coffee.

A comprehensive comparison of the limits of ochratoxin A in standards such as CAC, the European Union, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan found that in addition to the European Union’s regulations for common easily contaminated food varieties such as cereals, grapes, and coffee, There are also provisions for spices, such as peppers and peppers, with a limit of 15 μg / kg; in addition, there are corresponding provisions for infants, children’s food processed cereals, and infant medical foods, with a limit of 0.5 μg / kg.

Risk prevention and control

CAC and ochratoxin management control standards have three operational specifications for the prevention and reduction of ochratoxin A in wine, coffee, and cocoa.

At all stages of planting, before and during harvesting, storage, transportation, processing and distribution of food, you can learn from the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s relevant operating procedures and follow the guidelines of „Good Agricultural Practices“ and „Good Manufacturing Practices“; pay attention to the moisture control during harvest period; it should be kept as dry as possible before harvesting. If the situation does not allow, the crop should be dried as soon as possible after the harvest. It is best to use hot air drying to make the moisture content equal to or less than 0.70; keep the storage condition in good condition. Store food in a cool and dry place; stock in first-in, first-out storage. If necessary, rapid detection can be used to quickly monitor ochratoxin A.

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