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Ochratoxin A


Ochratoxin A (Ochratoxin A (OTA) is one of the mycotoxins for which there are legal limits affecting wheat, flour and flour-based products. It is a storage mycotoxin for which the risk is high when wheat is stored in warm and wet conditions, allowing the fungi responsible for its production to proliferate.


While the 2021 UK wheat harvest proceeded largely without issue, some areas were delayed due to wet weather, and in some cases wheat had to be harvested with a high moisture content.


As such, there have been concerns regarding OTA contamination of wheat that arrives at a mill intake with a high moisture content at this point in the season. UKFM collated rapid test kit results where members had tested high moisture intake samples.


Together, these figures showed that the high moisture samples had a higher OTA concentration than samples tested in December and February, but overall the levels found were below the legal limit. Still, as a storage mycotoxin, when conditions are right for fungal growth OTA will continue to be produced throughout the season. Members should be vigilant when accepting wheat with a high moisture content at this point and hereafter in the season.OTA) is one of the mycotoxins for which there are legal limits affecting wheat, flour and flour-based products. It is a storage mycotoxin for which the risk is high when wheat is stored in warm and wet conditions, allowing the fungi responsible for its production to proliferate.


While the 2021 UK wheat harvest proceeded largely without issue, some areas were delayed due to wet weather, and in some cases wheat had to be harvested with a high moisture content.


As such, there have been concerns regarding OTA contamination of wheat that arrives at a mill intake with a high moisture content at this point in the season. UKFM collated rapid test kit results where members had tested high moisture intake samples.


Together, these figures showed that the high moisture samples had a higher OTA concentration than samples tested in December and February, but overall the levels found were below the legal limit. Still, as a storage mycotoxin, when conditions are right for fungal growth OTA will continue to be produced throughout the season. Members should be vigilant when accepting wheat with a high moisture content at this point and hereafter in the season.

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