Abstract

Contamination of cereal commodities with mycotoxins represents a significant hazard to consumer health and is receiving increasing attention from food safety authorities and legislators. The most important mycotoxins in small cereal grains in Europe are trichothecenes, including nivalenol, deoxynivalenol, T-2 toxin and HT-2 toxin in most regions, and ochratoxin, which is a major postharvest contaminant in northern Europe. Knowledge of the pre- and postharvest stages of the cereal production chain and in particular information on where prevention strategies can be implemented is critical to the development of quality assurance systems for improving food safety. In this chapter we review the key critical control points identified in the cereal production chain for trichothecenes and ochratoxin A that must be properly handled to minimize consumer exposure to these important mycotoxins. Our summary provides useful information for the cereal production and processing industries that can be used for developing appropriate specifications and management systems for preventing mycotoxin contamination in the food chain.

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