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New Technology for Improved Safety of Grain Products

Foodpolis Support Center announced on 12th that the Center has successfully developed ‘Processing Technology for Mycotoxin Reduction in Grain’ as an outcome of a joint technology development project.


The Support Center, together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has supported the R&D project for Ochratoxin A (OTA) reduction in grain (such as rice and oat) for three years (2016~2019).


Ochratoxin A is a mycotoxin, which is toxic to the kidney and liver and classified as Class 2-B by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. 


This research, conducted by Korea University and Dongwon Home Food jointly with Idaho State University through an international consortium, has not only an academic purpose but also industrial application.


OTA, which is a secondary metabolite created by fungus, is known as a carcinogen that can cause an acute or chronic disease or physiological disorder to both humans and livestock.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), mycotoxins are more dangerous than food additives and pesticide residue.


Grain, rich in carbohydrate, can easily be contaminated by fungi, and mycotoxins generated by fungi can survive even through high heat or food processing.


In particular, OTA is detected not only in farm produce such as nuts, grain, fruit, and coffee beans but also in milk and processed foods including meat, wine, and beer. 


OTA, which is originated from different fungus genus such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp., is unique in that the mycotoxin is detected in various growing environments and product groups.

Korea has set strict limits on levels of mycotoxin contamination to control import of food ingredients. Mycotoxin contamination may occur randomly within the same products, which can often cause a sampling error.


“We have applied for three patents regarding the processing technology for OTA reduction in grain,” explained Gwang-won Lee, Professor of Korea University. “Four papers have been published in major academic journals in the area of food safety, and the technology was introduced at six conferences including the one that has a world authority on toxicity.


“Mycotoxins are becoming a major safety issue in the world’s food industry, so we’d like to apply this innovative technology to infant foods and senior-friendly foods first, which use grain as a major ingredient, in an effort to improve safety of these food,” noted Tae-jin Yun, President of the Korea National Food Cluster.


 (Source: Moneytoday http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=sec&sid1=001&oid=008&aid=0004247644)

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