Mycotoxicology Newsletter

August 1998   Volume IV, No.2


The WORKING GROUP "Biotoxins" of the European standardization organization (CEN) develops several standardized methods of analysis for mycotoxins and, recently, for phycotoxins (marine biotoxins). During its meeting held from May 7-8, 1998 in Ispra, Italy, the working group evaluated several comments of the CEN member states on the draft standard on method of analysis for aflatoxins in maize, raw peanuts and peanut butter using immunoaffinity column coupled with HPLC postcolumn derivatization (derived from Trucksess et al. JAOAC, 1991, 74,81-88). The improved version was approved by the technical committee CEN/TC 275 "Food analysis - Horizontal methods". The CEN working group has added two new HPLC methods (also using immunoaffinity column clean-up) for the determination of ochratoxin A in roasted coffee and in barley to its standardization work program that ties into developments within the EU. The methods have been developed in an EU "Standards, Measurements and Testing" (SM&T) project coordinated by Dr. J. Gilbert (MAFF, UK), and their validation is in progress. Other new methods on mycotoxins, coming from the same SM&T project, were taken on board by the working group on this meeting, namely aflatoxin B1 in fig paste, pistachios, peanut butter and paprika powder, and aflatoxin M1 in liquid milk, and patulin in apple juice and apple puree. The working group tries to synchronize its work as much as possible with developments in the EU legislation such as the recently adopted Commission Regulation (EC) 1525/ 98 and Commission Directive 98/53/EC (Official Journal of the European Communities No L201 of July 17, 1998) and the work within the SM&T program also on the other mycotoxins; several SM&T projects are actually ongoing on aflatoxins, ochratoxin, patulin, fumonisins and trichothecenes. The importance of sampling and sample preparation was discussed at length and resolutions have been put into place in order to contribute to forthcoming EU legislation also for other mycotoxins. Detailed methods of sampling for official checking control of levels of aflatoxins in certain foodstuffs have been harmonized and criteria for acceptance of the analytical methods have been included in the above mentioned legislation based on previous resolutions of the CEN working group. During its next meeting (Spring, 1999) the working group will decide whether adaptation and further adjustments as to the annexes of 98/53/EC are needed for aflatoxins and the other mycotoxins discussed at EU level. Contacts: (for CEN activity) W.J. de Koe, Hartenseweg 40, 6705 BK Wageningen, The Netherlands. Fax: +31-31-741-7372, E-Mail:; (for SM&T activity) A. Boenke, European Commission, DG XII - SM&T, 200 Rue de la Loi, 1049 Brussels, Belgium. Fax: +32-2-295-8072, E-Mail: