Info

Figure 4. Ochratoxin.

provided (198), and information is also available on worldwide occurrence of mycotoxins. The data were collected from the FAO/WHO/UNMEP food contamination monitoring program in addition to other sources (198).

Regulatory Control of Mycotoxins. Although a wide range of mycotoxins have been found in the environment associated with human food and animal feeds, there is only formal regulation of aflatoxins by the FDA. The FDA does not regulate the other known mycotoxins based on the observed levels, incidence, estimated consumption, and tox-icological profiles (190). The aflatoxins are regulated under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act Section 402(a)(1). In fact, in the United States when good manufacturing practices (GMPs) are followed, aflatoxins are regarded as unavoidable contaminants in food and feeds (191). When food is slated for human consumption, the action level of 20 ppb total aflatoxins is enforced, while for milk the level is much lower, 0.5 ppb AFMj. The action level for aflatoxins in feeds is also 20 ppb. However, levels of 100 ppb are permitted in feeds slated for consumption by breeding cattle and swine and mature poultry. Levels of 200 ppb are allowed in food corn destined for finishing swine (^100 lb) and 300 ppb are allowed for aflatoxins in cottonseed meal incorporated in feeds and also for corn fed to feedlot beef cattle (190).

In Europe, regulatory control of mycotoxins is governed by the European Economic Communities (EEC) a body composed of 12 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Greece). The formation of the EEC began with the Treaty of Rome in 1957. In 1987 the treaty was modified due to the establishment of the Single European Act. It described the stepwise establishment of the Common European Market by the end of 1992. Harmonization of food laws must be accomplished by the EEC to achieve this objective. The control of contaminants is one issue that must be addressed (203-207).

There have been increasing numbers of publications of immunochemical methods for detection of the various mycotoxins. It is now common practice to use ELISA to screen commodities for presence of mycotoxins (208). RIAs are described in some of the earlier publications. The majority of tests have been developed for aflatoxin detection (Table 5). The most attention has been focused on the aflatoxins due to their strict regulation by governmental agencies in the U.S. and other countries. There is a wealth of information provided in the references listed in Table 5. There are papers that describe assays that employ monoclonal antibodies (211,216,221) as well as those that employ polyclonal antibodies (209,210,212,215,217-220). There are descriptions of the chemistry involved in conjugate antigen production (208-224). The way in which the aflatoxin was de-rivatized and coupled to the large carrier molecule influences the specificity of the antibody (the antibody's ability to recognize and bind to only aflatoxin Bx if other metabolites are bound as well). There are papers that provide comparisons of ELISAs and chemical methods when certain commodities are analyzed for aflatoxins (228) as well as comparisons of various commercial kits (229). There are also reports from different collaborative studies (225-227).

Table 5. List of Selected Immunochemical Methods for Mycotoxin Detection

Toxin

Method

References

Aflatoxin Bj

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