The Occurrence of Mycotoxins in Corn Products Found in Retail Stores in the USA

Julie L Brunkhorst, Bruce R. Malone, Jordon S. Bierbaum, Jenny B. Buhr, Tammy L. Clarke, Stephanie C. Dennler-Sima, Nicole A. McKernan

Trilogy Analytical Laboratory, Washington, MO 63090

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Abstract


Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by mold that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and animals. They are proven potent carcinogens and are regulated in many countries including both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union. A limited survey (139 samples) was conducted of various corn based foods, including infant foods that were purchased at retail stores from 17 different states in the USA. These samples were analyzed to determine the occurrence of aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisins which are the most commonly found mycotoxins in corn. Detectable concentrations of aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisins were found in 44.5%, 44.5%, 74.5%, respectively in the regular corn based food and 89.6%, 65.5%, and 89.6% respectively in infant foods. These results demonstrate the significant 2013 occurrence of mycotoxins found in corn based foods in the USA.


Procedure


Corn based foods including infant foods were purchased at retail stores from 17 different states in the U.S.A.

The samples consisted of 110 corn based foods including corn flour, corn grits, tortilla chips, etc. and 29 samples of infant corn based snack foods.

Each sample was analyzed by HPLC for aflatoxins (AOAC 994.08), deoxynivalenol (Journal of AOAC Vol. 84, #4 2005) and fumonisins (AOAC 2001.04).

The results were compared to the USA regulation/guidance levels and EU regulations.

U.S.A. Regulations/Guidance Levels for corn based foods:

Aflatoxin: 20ppb
Deoxynivalenol: no advisory levels are available for corn or corn products
Fumonisin: guidance level of 2000ppb

European Regulations for corn based foods

Aflatoxin: Aflatoxin B1 at 2ppb or Total Alatoxin at 4ppb
- Infant corn based products: 0.100ppb
Deoxynivalenol: 500-750 depending upon the product
- Infant corn based products: 200ppb
Fumonisin: 800-1000ppb depending upon the product
- Infant corn based products: 200ppb

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Conclusion


These results demonstrate the significant 2013 occurrence of aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisins found in corn based foods in the USA.

Regular corn based foods:
Aflatoxins: 44.5% positive
- 1 sample over U.S.A. regulations
- 18 samples over the EU regulations
Deoxynivalenol: 44.5% positive
- No US specifications available
- 6 samples over the EU regulations
Fumonisins: 74.5% positive
- 2 samples over U.S.A. guidance level
- 13 samples over EU regulations

Infant corn based foods:
Aflatoxins: 89.6% positive
- No US specifications available
- 26 samples over the EU regulation
Deoxynivalenol: 65.5% positive
- No US specifications available
- 13 samples over EU regulations
Fumonisins: 89.6% positive
- No US specifications available
- 22 samples over the EU regulations

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