IARC Publication Calls for International Response to Minimize Mycotoxin Exposure
A new book published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Improving Public Health through Mycotoxin Control, describes the occurrence and effects of mycotoxins and discusses approaches to reduce mycotoxin exposure to improve public health in low-income countries. According to the agency, mycotoxins, or “fungal toxins that contaminate many of the most frequently consumed foods and feeds worldwide,” have the potential to contribute to adverse health effects in humans even at low concentrations. The book’s editors urge governments, nongovernmental and international organizations, and the private sector to initiate measures to help minimize high-risk populations’ exposure to mycotoxins.
“Given the ubiquitous nature of exposure in many countries, an urgent need exists for a coordinated international response to the problem of mycotoxin contamination of food,” the IARC website reads.
The book devotes a chapter to the effects that major mycotoxins occurring in foods have on human health. Although the publication describes the major source of human exposure to mycotoxins as consumption of contaminated foods, the authors also include information on occupational exposures in granaries and other food and feed processing from mycotoxins contained in dusts from contaminated grains. Another chapter covers risk assessment and risk management of mycotoxins, including some discussion of intervention practices to reduce mycotoxin contamination in the field and prevent mycotoxin formation during storage.
IARC, the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, intends the book to be accessible to a wide audience, including decision-makers in disciplines such as agriculture, public health, marketing, and economics. Individuals may download a PDF of the book for free on IARC’s website. Other IARC publications are also available.