Request for data on T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin and Nivalenol in food and feed, and Zearalenone in food

1 November 2010


EFSA has received/will receive several requests from the European Commission for scientific opinions on the following mycotoxins and plant toxicants in food and/or feed: T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, nivalenol, zearalenone, diacetoxyscirpenol, moniliformin, beauvericin, enniatins, sterigmatocystin, citrinin, phomopsins, alternaria toxins, morphine alkaloids, ergot alkaloids, pyrrolizidine alkaloids and tropane alkaloids.

This call refers specifically to T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin, nivalenol and zearalenone. The call for the other substances will follow later this year/next year.

T-2 and HT-2 toxins are type A trichothecene mycotoxins produced by Fusarium spp. They are found in grains such as wheat, maize, oats, barley, rice and in beans as well as in their derived products. Toxic effects of T-2 and HT-2 toxins include body weight reduction, dermotoxicity, liver damage, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity as well as haematotoxic and immunotoxic effects.

The European Commission asked EFSA (EFSA-Q-2010-00962) to provide a scientific opinion on the risks for animal and public health related to the presence of T-2 and HT-2 toxins in food and feed. The opinion should consider any new results of toxicological studies, deliver an updated dietary exposure assessment, and determine the daily exposure levels of the different animal species.

Nivalenol is a type B trichotecene produced by several species of Fusarium on cereals. Critical effects identified for nivalenol are growth retardation, leukopenia, reduced antibody production and increased susceptibility to infections. The European Commission asked EFSA (EFSA-Q-2010-01003) to provide a scientific opinion on the risks for animal and public health related to the presence of nivalenol in food and feed.

Zearalenone is an estrogenic mycotoxin produced by species of the genus Fusarium. It is commonly found in maize but barley, oats, wheat, rice, sorghum and soy beans are also susceptible to contamination with zearalenone.

Commission Regulation (EC) 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006[1] lays down maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs including maximum levels for zearalenone. EFSA is requested (EFSA-Q-2010-00958) to provide a scientific opinion on the effects on consumer health risk of a possible increase of the maximum level for zearalenone in breakfast cereals. The assessment should be performed taking into account the exposure to zearalenone from other food sources and therefore data on zearalenone occurrence in food in general have to be collected.

Call for data

Member States, research institutions, academia, industry, trade and any other stakeholders are invited to submit data on:

1) levels of T-2 toxin and HT-2 toxin analysed in food and feed,
2) levels of nivalenol analysed in food and feed, and
3) levels of zearalenone analysed in food.

For more details on how to submit the occurrence data please follow the link How to submit data where under the section Reporting formats you can find the following files:

  1. "Reporting format - T-2, HT-2 Toxins, Nivalenol, and Zearalenone", a reporting format for nivalenol, T-2 toxin, HT 2 toxin, and zearalenone in MS Excel and,
  2. "Instructions - T-2, HT-2 Toxins, Nivalenol, and Zearalenone", a document containing the information on how to on how to use the reporting format.
    It is very important to read the “Instructions” document before using the reporting format.

Deadline for transmitting data: 15 October 2010  - Extended deadline: 1 November 2010

Contact details

Data should be sent to both e-mail addresses given below:
contaminants [at] and Frans.Verstraete [at]

For inquires regarding the reporting format please contact us at datex [at]

29 July 2010