Conclusions and future perspectives

The objective of this brief overview was to provide a short introduction to the adverse effects and the risk assessment of mycotoxins in animal feeds. This overview is limited to the most prominent toxins, i.e., toxins that have been addressed in legal actions and/or have a role in international trade disputes. From the veterinary point of view, mycotoxicoses in animals remain a prominent differential diagnosis at the farm level, and are a subject of increasing concern in terms of animal health and well being. The perception of the risk for consumers associated with the presence of mycotoxins in animal feeds is moving from the direct risk of toxicologically active residual amounts in milk, meat and eggs to the indirect risks, e.g., the dissemination of diseases by animals that have inadequate immune competence due to mycotoxin exposure, and to the risks associated with the ever increasing risk of overuse of antimicrobial agents. The resulting induction of antibiotic resistant mutations in microorganisms is a matter of increasing public health and environmental concern. In addition to these concerns, other fungal secondary metabolites in addition to the well-established mycotoxins, are emerging and warrant further characterization.

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