Why test for mycotoxins?

Some regulatory frameworks require lab testing for mycotoxins. In the USP and Ph.Eur, monographs for individual herbal raw materials often specify testing for aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, G2 and/or ochratoxin A. Health Canada requires that NHPs containing ingredients of certain botanical origin are to be tested for mycotoxins. The CFIA and US FDA have established maximum limits for mycotoxins in various food products and animal feeds. Health Canada requires cannabis flower and some extracts to be tested for mycotoxins.

What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by certain species of fungi that can contaminate food, feed, and other organic vegetative materials. Many of the molds that produce mycotoxins are common in the environment around us, such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. which we see in the kitchen as “bread molds”. When agricultural products are left damp after harvesting these molds colonize the material and release mycotoxins into their growth environment.  There are many different types of mycotoxins produced by different species of mold, with some of the most common ones being aflatoxins, ochratoxins, fumonisins, and trichothecenes.

Mycotoxins can be sinister because they are heat resistant, thus not always eliminated by cooking, and long term chronic exposure causes toxicity even at low doses. Mycotoxins are a threat to human and animal health because they can cause a range of negative health effects, chronic toxicity, immunosuppression, and even cancer. Some mycotoxins are also neurotoxic and can cause neurological damage. Aflatoxins in grain fed to livestock can cause injury or impaired growth to animals.

Do I need to test my product or raw material for mycotoxins?

A risk assessment should be performed and the relevant regulatory requirements reviewed. Generally speaking, highly synthetic or refined materials are of lower risk for contamination. Herbal and vegetative materials merit further evaluation. Review the monographs for the raw materials from USP or Ph.Eur. Some common risk group products include: ginseng, cannabis, peanuts, evening primrose oil, sugar cane, sugar beets, cottonseed, corn derived products, grains, nuts, dried fruits. It is important to remember that like pesticides, extraction process used on herbs can sometimes co-extract mycotoxin or even concentrate it in the final product. For that reason, extracts and products produced from herbs should also be considered in the risk assessment.

How can Vivariant help?

Vivariant can help you be compliant with regulations for mycotoxins and show your customers that your materials have been tested for this contaminant. We use LC-MS/MS and other methodologies to test for mycotoxins in samples submitted to our laboratory. We adhere to strict quality control procedures to ensure that our results are accurate and reliable. Our laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and our team stays up-to-date on the latest industry developments and regulatory requirements.

If you require mycotoxin analysis for your dietary supplement, NHP, cannabis or food product, please contact us today. We would be happy to discuss our service offerings and provide you with a solution to meet your needs.