Ochratoxin A in Spices

Ochratoxin A in Spices

Agricultural Sciences / Nutrition & Food Sciences / Agro-Food

February 01, 2013

Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by different moulds or fungi, which can form on plants either during growth or whilst in storage. Various moulds of the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium such as Penicillium verrucosum, are responsible for the production of the mycotoxin, ochratoxin A (OTA)  a known carcinogen, teratogen and nephrotoxin.

OTA, is often found in stored grains and until recently, cereals were considered to be by far the main source of the mycotoxin.

European Regulations for Ochratoxin A in Spices:

A recently published Commission Regulation ((EU) No. 594/2012) amends Regulation (EC) 1881/2006 as regards the maximum levels of the contaminants including Ochratoxin A. 

The regulations will apply the lower maximum level of 15 µg/kg to the following:

  • Piper spp (fruits thereof, including white and black pepper)
  • Myristica fragrans (nutmeg)
  • Zingiber officinale (ginger)
  • Curcuma longa (turmeric)

The application of the lower maximum level of 15 µg/kg in Capsicum spp. (dried fruits thereof, whole or ground, including chillies, chilli powder, cayenne and paprika) will be postponed and will remain at 30 µg/kg until 1st January 2015.

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