The FDA has approved six states to receive an exemption from 'no-blending' rules for aflatoxin contaminated corn, bringing some relief to the drought-ridden US corn belt. Iowa received the first approval on September 18, followed by Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Each state submitted a written request to FDA detailing their state's crop conditions, aflatoxin levels and relevant data supporting their need for the relaxed rules. Blending corn in order to minimize aflatoxin levels is normally forbidden. With US corn supplies at an 8-year low, blending will allow more of the available corn crop to be utilized as livestock feed and help to mitigate losses and restrain rising feed prices to producers.
The relaxed rule allows sellers to blend aflatoxin contaminated corn with clean/uncontaminated corn or corn with low levels (<20 ppb) of aflatoxin in order to market the corn as feed. To take advantage of the relaxed blending rules, companies must complete the "2012 Compliance Certification Form" issued by their state department of agriculture. Blended corn may only be sold for use as feed for specific classes of livestock including mature poultry, breeding swine, finishing swine over 100 pounds, breeding cattle and finishing (feedlot) cattle according to section 683.100 of the FDA Compliance Policy Guide. Written confirmation is required from each buyer of blended corn stating which class of livestock will consume it as feed.
All shipments of blended corn require clearly labeled aflatoxin level in ppb and a statement of the intended use for the grain. Blenders are required to utilized USDA-GIPSA validated "sampling & analysis protocols and testing procedures" for corn, ensuring optimal accuracy and ruggedness of results.
A link to USDA-GIPSA approved sampling procedures may be found here: http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/publications/fgis/handbooks/grain-insp/grbook1/bk1ch2.pdf
A list of USDA-GIPSA approved aflatoxin test kits may be found here: http://www.gipsa.usda.gov/Publications/fgis/handbooks/afl_insphb.html - click on Chapter 8 to quickly review the VICAM AflaTest procedure, a USDA-GIPSA approved, six (6) minute test for quantitative aflatoxin determination.