Voluntary consumer management

In this approach the consumer is responsible for managing the quality of the food consumed. Since the regulatory levels allowed in animal feeds do not protect against harmful chronic exposure and the cost of providing higher quality is a factor in profits, the self-management model is already used by large scale animal farmers in both developed and developing countries. This option is not widely recognized as a valid model for humans, but given the challenges of reducing exposure to mycotoxins in developing countries this model may be the most realistic for the countries in which 75% of the world's population live. If the scale of operation makes formal regulation uneconomic; if the producer and the consumer are the same ent ity; if the consumer needs greater quality than the regulations provide, or if more economic solutions than regulation to safe levels are available, then this type of regulation is the solution.

A number of approaches to assuring food quality are available. One particularly attractive method is to use enterosorbent feed additives to prevent exposure of farm animals to aflatoxin (Afriye-Gyawu et al., Chapter 25). Here the regulations are defined as close to the limit for acute toxicity, but farmers can experience loss of productivity and greater disease incidence at sub-symptomatic chronic exposures. Under such circumstances, many farmers use additives that neutralize the contaminant to assure the full value of the feed. Additives usually are cheaper than methods of removing or degrading the contaminant.

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