Document Detail

Opportunities for biotechnology and policy regarding mycotoxin issues in international trade.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17727996     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Despite being introduced more than a decade ago, agricultural biotechnology still remains framed in controversy impacting both the global economy and international regulations. Controversies surrounding agricultural biotechnology produced crops and foods commonly focus on human and environmental safety, intellectual property rights, consumer choice, ethics, food security, poverty reduction and environmental conservation. Originally, some consumers were reluctant to accept the first generation agricultural biotechnology products because they appeared to primarily benefit agricultural producers; however, it is clear from continued evaluations that these technologies also improved both the safety and wholesomeness of food and helped improve the environment. Plants engineered to resist insect pests and tolerate less toxic pesticides resulted in improved yields thereby enabling farmers to produce more food per acre while reducing the need for herbicides, pesticides, and water and tilling. An indirect benefit of reduced pest damage in transgenic corn expressing genes to control insect pests is lower levels of mycotoxins, most notably those caused by the genus Fusarium. Mycotoxins are an important regulatory issue globally because of their toxic and carcinogenic potential to humans and animals. Complicating this issue is the fact that toxicological databases for mycotoxins are relatively incomplete compared to other food contaminants. Current debates about agricultural biotechnology and mycotoxins reveal significant differences in perception of associated risks and benefits. When faced with uncertainty, regulators tend to set limits as low as possible. Additionally, some regulators invoke the "Precautionary Principle" when limited information is available or disputes over interpretation exist for possible contaminants, including mycotoxins. A major concern regarding use of the "Precautionary Principle" is the appearance that regulators can justify setting any limit on the basis of inconclusive or unknown potential hazards of a contaminant which may significantly impact global trade because mycotoxin residues vary widely between countries. This paper describes the current economic and heath impact of these regulations and their impact on international trade.
David F Kendra; Rex B Dyer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review     Date:  2007-07-31
Journal Detail:
Title:  International journal of food microbiology     Volume:  119     ISSN:  0168-1605     ISO Abbreviation:  Int. J. Food Microbiol.     Publication Date:  2007 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-11-12     Completed Date:  2008-02-01     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8412849     Medline TA:  Int J Food Microbiol     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  147-51     Citation Subset:  IM    
USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, 1815 N. University Street, Peoria, Illinois 61604, USA. <>
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MeSH Terms
Commerce / standards*
Food Contamination / analysis,  prevention & control*
Food Technology*
International Cooperation
Legislation, Food
Maximum Allowable Concentration
Mycotoxins / analysis*,  toxicity
Pest Control, Biological
Plants, Genetically Modified / microbiology
Risk Assessment
Reg. No./Substance:

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