Despite the UK leaving the European Union and British officials losing a seat at the table covering food safety discussions, UK Flour Millers continues to have an influence in Brussels on these matters, most recently in relation to mycotoxins.
We have used the mycotoxin datasets from the AHDB Contaminants Monitoring project to develop a paper comparing how mycotoxins co-occur and what this means for the approach taken by the European Commission when it comes to setting mycotoxin maximum levels in cereals and cereal products.
Our data, and figures from other European milling trade associations, show that milling wheat contaminated with one mycotoxin will not necessarily be contaminated with another mycotoxin – which suggests the current approach to setting mycotoxin maximum levels is flawed and excludes more grain from the food market than expected.
We have always argued that food safety policy needs to both protect the consumer without significantly disrupting food supply or leading to food waste – our research suggests the current approach is failing in this regard.
The research was discussed by the European Commission agri-food contaminant working group, but it is not yet clear what effect it will have on policymakers’ thinking. As EU contaminant limits will continue to apply in NI and affect GB exports to EU member states, they will continue to directly affect our flour and customer specifications, so it is important that we maintain our influence in these discussions.