Aflatoxin Strikes Again This Summer

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This summer’s relentless drought did quite a number on the grain growers of North America. As if that wasn’t bad enough, now it seems as though the entire grain industry, including makers of milk products and crop insurers, are on the lookout for the carcinogen, Aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a fungus that forms in grain both before harvest and during storage. Though rarely deadly, it can cause liver damage in humans and animals that ingest it in sufficient quantities.  The FDA has very strict action levels for the level of Aflatoxin present in food or feed – 20 parts per billion for humans and 300 ppb for animal feed. A breaching of those levels will cause the crop to be discounted, destroyed, or slowly blended with clean grain.

So far this year, trace amounts of Aflatoxin have popped up in a small sampling of the harvest. The fungus creeps up in crops under extreme stresses like severe heat and humidity, which usually isolates it to the Southern US. However, because of this summer’s record drought, it is also showing up in the Midwest. While the extent of the outbreak is yet to be established, it is something to be watched closely.

One thing we do know is that proper monitoring is the key to keeping infected grain out of the food supply. For years, Dryer master has been supplying equipment to optimize the performance of your grain dryer.  Our goal is to bring as much product as close to the desired target moisture as possible.

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