21 December 2001

Mycotoxin cut is guides aim

PRACTICAL information from the HGCA to help growers minimise mycotoxins in wheat should be available by next summer, thanks to extra funding from the Food Standards Agency and other co-sponsors of a new project.

With growing European awareness of mycotoxins as a food safety issue, this first joint FSA project is timely and relevant, says the HGCAs Roger Williams. The aim is to assess the UKs potential problems ahead of possible EU legislation.

"Mycotoxin analysis is very costly, but the FSA has agreed to fund detailed analyses of the full range of possible fusarium ear blight mycotoxins."

The extra will add about £150,000 to HGCAs £57,000 investment. "As a result, the cereals industry will benefit from this important study for a fraction of the total cost."

Widespread use of strobilurin fungicides in the past two years has kept ears visibly clean, notes colleague Clive Edwards. "But strobilurins do not control Fusarium culmorum, which is known to produce mycotoxins, so the general advice is to use a triazole as well." &#42