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Figure 2. Postharvest grain moisture content ranges that are safe for storage of wheat, and those that are unsafe and more likely to lead to contamination with either Fusanum myco-toxins or ochratoxin A.

Application of HACCP-like assessment to the cereal food chain is consistent with the established knowledge that drying grain quickly at harvest is the most crucial factor in avoiding mold growth and mycotoxin formation during subsequent storage. Thus, instigation of a suitable monitoring check system to ensure that grain is dried rapidly to a safe moisture content, together with regular inspection and monitoring of grain moisture, should eliminate the risk of ochratoxin A formation during storage. In addition, following Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) will increase the production of good quality grain. The continued occurrence of och-ratoxin A in grain suggests that GAPs either are not or cannot always be fully followed, or that the factors involved in the formation of ochratoxin A are not completely understood. In other words, if grain cannot be dried quickly enough, then understanding all of the factors that affect the potential for ochratoxin A formation becomes important. Only by obtaining this information can sound and effective advice be developed on how to minimize this risk.

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