Mycotoxicology Newsletter

July 2003   Volume VII, No. 1


A January 2003 report from CAST entitled "Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal, and Human Systems" discusses the economic and health issues surrounding mycotoxin contamination in human food and animal feed. The authors note that losses caused by aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, and fumonisins in the United States alone—estimated at 932 million dollars annually—suggest that mycotoxins pose an enormous risk to the world economy. To protect the global community against such losses, as well as the threat of mycotoxin-related disease, the report advocates standardizing mycotoxin regulations worldwide. CAST also calls for more effective mycotoxin detection methods and biomarkers, as well as for in-depth studies of their effects on the immune system and of their carcinogenic potential. Other recommendations include continued efforts to control mycotoxin contamination through sound agronomic practices and the breeding of mycotoxin- resistant plant varieties, as well as thorough assessments of the threat various mycotoxins pose as air pollutants and as potential agents of bioterrorism.