Food security has always been a global issue. Although the industry continues to work on preventing toxins from affecting our food, it is a large and challenging problem to tackle.
Mycotoxins are a type of toxin that stem from fungal infections in crops. When the toxins go undetected and enter the world’s food supply, it can have extreme effects on those who consume them.
“These toxins are predicted to potentially contaminate a quarter of the global food supply, putting 4.5 billion people at risk. It’s a huge issue,” said Jagger Harvey, director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss (PHLIL) at Kansas State University.
Harvey is taking matters into his own hands with his team at Kansas State’s Post-Harvest Loss Innovation Lab. The lab will be looking at ways to reduce food loss due to toxins in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Nepal, and Afghanistan by conducting mycotoxin assessments. They will also be using results from market, household, and environmental research to identify geographical areas and specific commodities that are at higher risk of mycotoxin contamination.
“These toxins can be a major issue overseas and in the U.S.,” Harvey said. “Our program as well as others are working to talk with policymakers, and the private sector, regulators, national systems, universities, civil society and others to come up with a collective approach to uncovering the scope and dynamics of this problem. Then, we will work together aggressively and impatiently to make as rapid strides as possible to reduce the prevalence of these toxins in food.”
Harvey notes that the prevalence of toxins in Kansas’ crops and other states vary from year to year, but in some of the countries the lab is working in, it tends to be a problem every year. To learn more about his research abroad and the impact it can have on America’s crops, read more here.More From: Kansas State University
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