What Happens If I Get a Positive Mycotoxin Result?
[Blog Post]
What Happens If I Get a Positive Mycotoxin Result?

What Happens If I Get a Positive Mycotoxin Result?

June 7, 2024

Mycotoxins in food tend to occur when specific molds and environmental conditions coexist. To ensure your operation is set up for success, testing should take place as early as possible.

“Testing throughout the entirety of the supply chain—from farm to factory to finished foods—is critical because of the insidious nature of mycotoxins,” says Andrew J Vignati, Inside Sales Representative Account Manager II at VICAM. “They can develop at any stage in the process of production, and it is certainly possible to have a sample containing mycotoxin and no mold at that time, or vice versa, due to their stability and conditions needed for mold to produce these toxins. Given what we know about the dangers of mycotoxins, it is my belief that the industry needs to increase their volume of testing, not only to preserve the reputation of their brands, but also to keep their customers safe.”

What Is a Positive Sample?

There are a few different ways to determine what constitutes a positive sample. Here are the most common:

  • Internal company requirement: Independently setting internal maximum levels to minimize impact on stored ingredients, processing, and finished product contamination
  • Customer-specified target level: The customer sets acceptable limits for high-risk toxins—may be governed by contract or verbal agreement
  • Export regulatory levels: Countries or trade regions specify maximum allowable levels—for example, EU regulations lay out the maximum levels of aflatoxins (aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, G2 and M1) in Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006

When a toxin is detected, that result should be considered the baseline amount of mycotoxin that all future testing should be compared against. That result will also follow the product into storage and processing. If contaminated raw materials are placed in storage, the risk of increased levels increases with time. 

What Do I Do If I Get a Positive Result?

A sound testing strategy should include an action plan based on maximum allowable levels determined by regulatory or customer requirements. That way, if you get a positive result, you will be ready with the following actions:

Inform stakeholders within the quality organization. This includes those involved in storing, handling, selling, and transporting your product.

Refer to your quality action plan to determine whether the raw material or finished product is a candidate for acceptance, rework, or rejection. Even if a raw material is not suitable for use on-site, there may be another use for the raw materials. For example, livestock feeds may tolerate higher levels of some mycotoxins, depending on the animal species, developmental age, and other factors.  

Deal with rejection. When a raw material or finished product is clearly out of specification, and no alternative market is known, the product may be subject to removal, rejection, or destruction depending on the level of regulation for a specific toxin.

Ready to Start Testing?

VICAM testing solutions offer easy and convenient ways to see if your product meets the necessary requirements. Contact us today to see which option is best for your operation.

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