Better detection of Aflatoxins for Improved Food Safety: Policy brief on diagnostics launched


A policy brief developed by BecA-ILRI Hub led project team on importance of diagnostics to aflatoxin control is launched in Washington DC


A better understanding of the quantitative, geographic, and time-based occurrence of aflatoxins in the food supply chain will boost the scale of response to this toxic threat to food safety globally.

In a policy brief that highlights the need for accessible, affordable, and context-appropriate diagnostics tools, a team of researchers from the Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA) project that is working to develop such tools, discusses how these advances in technology will help policy makers to make informed interventions in improving food safety.

The brief by CAAREA was among a set of 19 policy briefs that were launched by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on 5th November, 2013 in Washington DC. The policy briefs prepared by various groups of global experts review what is known about health risks from aflatoxins, discuss how to overcome market constraints to aflatoxin control, explore the international policy context for taking action in developing countries, and assess the state of research on new aflatoxin control technologies.

Aflatoxins, toxic chemicals that are a by-product of fungus common in grains and other food crops, are a significant threat to food safety and security in many developing countries. These chemicals can cause cancer, are lethal in high doses, and may suppress immune systems, reduce nutrient absorption, and stunt the development of infants.

A multi-disciplinary, five country team is working at the BecA-ILR Hub in an Australian Government funded research and development project, to develop cost effective tools that detect aflatoxin contamination in maize. The tools include real-time predictive tools to forecast potential aflatoxin outbreaks in maize that will ultimately help policy makers to target solutions before critical outbreaks occur.


Read more about the research on aflatoxins and the regional mycotoxin analytical platform at the BecA-ILRI Hub here: Capacity and Action for Aflatoxin Reduction in Eastern Africa (CAAREA)

Download the policy brief on aflatoxin diagnostics here: Improving Diagnostics for Aflatoxin Detection

Read more about/download the IFPRI Policy Briefs on aflatoxins here: Aflatoxins - finding solutions for improved food safety

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