Keywords: food safety, mycotoxins transfer, residues, risk assessment, bovine feed, cereals, animal feed, human health, animal health, food chain
Feed to food risk assessment, with particular reference to mycotoxins in bovine feed
Recent food safety scares, in particular those relating to bovine spongiform encephalopathy and Escherichia coli, have highlighted the need to assure consumers of the quality of the food they eat. It is necessary to highlight the procedures in place for minimising potential risks to animals and subsequent risks to consumers from animal derived food products. The potential dangers of mycotoxins in bovine feed and subsequent transfer to food for human consumption have become a food safety issue. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by fungi when cereals or animal feed are colonised by moulds and can cause severe immune deficiency, kidney and liver damage, while some mycotoxins (such as aflatoxins) are also known carcinogens. This paper reviews existing scientific studies and highlights those mycotoxins likely to occur in cereals, animal feed and food products of animal origin. The effects on human and animal health and key parameters in the formation of a Feed Chain Risk Assessment are also reviewed.