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Alternaria Toxins in Food

Alternaria Toxins in Food

Alternaria toxins are mycotoxins that can occur in food. More than 70 different Alternaria toxins have been identified so far. The best-known Alternaria toxins are alternariol (AOH), alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), altertoxins (ALT), tentoxin (TEN) and tenuazonic acid (TeA). The GBA Group has detected Alternaria toxins in samples of peppers, cereals, tomatoes, strawberries and potatoes.

Several hazardous characteristics (carcinogenic, teratogenic, fetotoxic, cytotoxic) have been identified in laboratory studies. An exposure assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has found that AOH, AME and TeA exceed the toxicologically relevant limit in food. For this reason, the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) submitted a draft to the European Commission in June 2019 for EU-Monitoring of AOH, AME and TeA, which also contains indicative values. There are currently no legal limits for Alternaria toxins in food.

Indicative values for Alternaria toxins:

Food / Alternaria ToxinAOH (µg/kg)AME (µg/kg)TeA (µg/kg)
Processed tomato products105500
Sesame seeds3030100
Sunflower seeds30301000
Sunflower oil1010100
Dried figs--1000
Cereal-based foods for infants and toddlers22500

Using LC-MS/MS technology, the GBA Group offers testing for AOH, AME, ALT, TEN, and TeA in food proving limits of quantification below the indicative values proposed by EFSA.

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