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Main research question/goal
It is already long known that mycotoxins (produced by the fungus Fusarium) can occur in grain based products. But can the same mycotoxins be transferred to humans when consuming chicken meat or chicken derived products from chickens fed with moulded (Fusarium) chicken feed? And if so, to what degree are the mycotoxins transferred, into which chicken-derived products? Does the transfer occur for all Fusarium toxins? This research contributes to safer animal food production and better knowledge of possible contamination of humans. Additionally, based on these research results, it is our goal to keep on motivating the poultry farmer to feed non-mouldy and mycotoxin-free feed to keep the animals healthy.

Research approach
We develop multimycotoxin LC-MS/MS methods to determine the different mycotoxins in feed, eggs, meat, liver and skin. We conduct animal trials during which we feed both broilers and laying hens with chicken feed artificially contaminated with high concentrations of Fusarium mycotoxins. Using the analytical methods developed, we determine the amount and kind of toxins in the eggs, meat, skin and liver of the chickens. We randomly monitor several commercially available products such as chicken meat and pork meat, pork liver and eggs. We search for traces of mycotoxins. We make conclusions on the degree to which the Belgian consumer is exposed to the Fusarium mycotoxins studied in this project via the consumption of eggs, chicken meat and pork meat or liver.

Based on the results obtained, we found no cause for consumer concern. Especially compared to the exposure to mycotoxins via plant-derived products, the Belgian consumer most probably is very limited or not exposed to the Fusarium mycotoxins studied in this project via the consumption of eggs, chicken meat and pork meat or liver. We observed transfer from the contaminated feed into the different meat and egg products: 1) for (Ac)-DON, ZEN, HT-2 and T-2: no transfer could be observed, 2) the enniatins and beauvericin: transfer into egg, meat, liver and skin, but extremely low. Less than 0.5 % of the mycotoxins present in the feed is found in edible matrices. When the contaminated feed was no longer fed to the animals, the concentrations of the mycotoxins very rapidly decreased beneath the detection limit. From the monitoring experiment with the chicken products purchased at different shops, we keep in mind that all egg samples were negative (not contaminated). In few exceptional cases for meat and liver, we observed minimal but non-quantifiable traces of enniatins. We advise that a more extensive monitoring study of commercially available products be conducted in the Belgian food market, with samples of a more diverse origin taken during different periods of the year.

External partner(s)
CODA-CERVA - Centrum Onderzoek Diergeneeskunde & Agrochemie
Effective start/end date1/01/1031/12/11

ID: 4158836