Economic Impact of Mycotoxin Contamination

The most obvious negative economic impact of mycotoxins is an outright loss of crops and affected animals, particularly when a severe outbreak occurs. However, even lower mycotoxin levels in feed affect animal health by causing feed refusal and an increased susceptibility to infection. Crops contaminated with mycotoxins at certain levels cannot be sold for human/animal consumption in countries, which have rigorous regulatory requirement for acceptable level of these compounds. However, humans and animals may encounter severe health hazard or high mortality rates in countries with less regulation or monitoring programs as result of exposure to higher levels of toxins in foods and feeds. In addition, costs of chemical analyses, quality control and regulatory programs, research development, extension services, lawsuits, and the cost of treatment of human illness must be considered in the overall economic burden of mycotoxins on the economy worldwide. Thus, the negative economic impact (crop boss) resulting from mycotoxin contamination is certainly very significant (CAST 2003), and estimated to be $932 million annually from aflatoxins, fumonisins, and deoxynivalenol contamination of crops.

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