Mycotoxin contaminations occurs world-wide and represent one of the most challenging and prominent food safety threats. In terms of exposure and severity of chronic disease, especially cancer, mycotoxins appear at present to pose a higher risk than anthropogenic contaminants and pesticides. They seriously affect the agricultural economies of many countries, interfere or even prevent trade, reduce animal and animal product production and affect human health. Between 25% and 50% of all commodities, especially staple crops, are contaminated with mycotoxins. In developing countries, monitoring and enforcement (according to EU or US legislation) only occurs occasionally when commodities such as groundnuts and coffee are destined for export while it is mostly ignored for local goods. Agricultural commodities of inferior quality are kept for local use resulting in adverse and even fatal health effects. Fortunately, the awareness on the mycotoxin problem is growing in several developing countries.
The intensive training aims teaching the trainees the fundamentals of the most important analytical methodologies (ELISA, HPLC, LC-MS/MS,…) for mycotoxin analysis in food and feed. This was done through practical lab work (participants were expected to work with toxic compounds (mycotoxins)!). Moreover, the awareness on the mycotoxin problem in developing countries was further enhanced by providing the trainees with theoretical lessons given by different experts on the several aspects of the mycotoxin issue. The training session took place this year for the second time at the laboratory of Food Analysis, Ghent University from the 28th of August until the 11th of September and 15 people from developing countries could follow the training thanks to the VLIR-UOS scholarship.