Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites formed by contaminant moulds. Introduction of mycotoxins in the production chain can occur at different levels, for example via contaminated feed consumed by dairy cattle or growth of contaminant moulds during cheese ripening and storage. Dairy companies require risk assessments of mycotoxins and effective control measures.
“Commissioned by the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO), we analysed the entire dairy production chain in the Netherlands with respect to mycotoxin risks,” says Marjon Wells-Bennik, Principal Scientist Food Safety. Animal feed proved to be the main source of mycotoxins in the dairy chain. The study included comprehensive surveys of feeds used at individual dairy farms and evaluation of carry-over from feed to milk and toxicological data. Analytical methods capable of measuring more than 20 mycotoxins in a single analysis run were used. NIZO assists dairy companies in making risk assessments and implementation of control measures, both from the perspective of safety of dairy products to consumers and from the perspective of the effects on animal health and productivity.