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Dietary intake of some important mycotoxins by the Swedish population

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To estimate the intake of some mycotoxins from food in Sweden, approximately 600 samples were collected and analysed for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin and trichothecenes. Intakes were calculated for average and high consumers among adults and children and compared with the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of the respective toxin. Mycotoxin levels in the food samples were generally below the European/national maximum limits. However, high levels of aflatoxins were found in some samples of Brazil nuts and pistachios. The intake of ochratoxin A, patulin and trichothecenes was found to be below the temporary TDI values (tTDI) proposed for these toxins by international expert groups, although the intake of trichothecenes (expressed as T-2 toxin equivalents) in children with a high consumption of cereals was close to the tTDI for T-2 toxin. Since there is to date no established numerical tTDI for aflatoxins, such a value was estimated for use within the project. The calculated intake of aflatoxins in high consumers exceeded this 'tTDI' by a factor of two. In conclusion, the exposure to mycotoxins in Sweden did not generally give rise to any major health concerns in the present study. However, the high levels of aflatoxins in certain commodities emphasize the need for preventive measures and improved control of toxin levels in these food items. Furthermore, the need for regulatory levels for trichothecenes in cereal products should be evaluated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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