Toxicity, Risk Assessment and Regulatory Aspects of Mycotoxins: Introduction
The ultimate result of scientific research regarding a food contaminant is a determination of the need to regulate the level of that contaminant in the food supply, and if the need exists, to determine a scientifically appropriate level at which to regulate. Suitable regulatory actions are necessarily based on sound science. Sound science in this case consists of properly designed safety assessments using appropriate models based on reliable and adequate toxicity studies and inputting sufficiently accurate data with regard to rates of contaminant occurrence and level of contamination when it occurs. Adequate toxicity studies in turn depend upon appropriate study design and relevant biological endpoints. Accurate data depends upon appropriate sampling plans and suitable analytical technology to determine the presence or absence of a contaminant and the level present in the food supply when the contaminant is found. Processing will often reduce the exposure level to mycotoxins in the food supply and this effect must be taken into account when considering regulatory action.