Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by fungi belonging to several genera, including Penicillium spp., Aspergillus spp. and Byssochlamys spp. Although patulin can occur in many moldy fruits, cereals and other foods, the major sources of patulin exposure are apple products. The European Scientific Committee on Food endorsed in its meeting on 8 March 2000 a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.4 ^g/kg bw for patulin (18).
In 2001, a SCOOP-task "Assessment of the dietary intake of patulin by the population of EU Member States" in the framework of Directive 1993/5/EEC was performed (19). Based on this assessment, the average exposure is well below the TDI. When considering specific groups of consumers, especially small children, and assuming worst case scenarios, the exposure to patulin is more significant but is still below the TDI.
Maximum levels of patulin have been set for some foods to protect consumers from unacceptable contamination (Table 3). These maximum levels should be reviewed and, if necessary, reduced taking into account progress in scientific and technological knowledge and the implementation of Commission Recommendation 2003/598/EC of 11 August 2003 on the prevention and reduction of patulin contamination in apple juice and apple juice ingredients in other beverages (20).
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