Mycotoxins in maize – urgent scientific advice for the Commission

Using data supplied by France, EFSA estimates that a temporary increase in the levels of three mycotoxins – deoxynivalenol, fumonisins and zearalenone – in maize and maize products is unlikely to impact significantly on public health. However, for some consumers currently estimated total exposure from all sources (including other crops) is already close to what is considered a safe level.

France recently requested a temporary derogation to the maximum levels of these mycotoxins in maize and maize products for the 2013 harvest. The European Commission will consider EFSA’s scientific advice together with other factors when it decides whether or not to grant the French request.

Mycotoxins are chemical compounds produced naturally by fungi. They can cause adverse health effects in humans and animals and sometimes enter the food chain via cereal crops.