Following a request from the European Commission to EFSA in order to update its 2006 evaluation on Ochratoxin A (OTA) in food, EFSA published a scientific opinion of the Expert Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) which assessed the risks to human health related to the presence of ochratoxin A (OTA) in food.


Ochratoxin A is a mycotoxin produced by several fungi and is present in our natural environment in many plants. It is mainly found in cereals, coffee beans, dried fruits and spices.


For example, OTA is considered carcinogenic, nephrotoxic or causes foetal malformations depending on the levels and exposures and on the people and doses absorbed.


There is a European regulation defining maximum residue limits (MRLs) (see the consolidated EC1881/2006 regulation).

The conclusions of the CONTAM group of the EFSA therefore remain unchanged. With the many new data from this risk assessment, OTA may be genotoxic by directly damaging DNA. Experts have confirmed that it may also be carcinogenic to the kidney. A margin of exposure (MOE) is now also calculated and conclusion is that there is a health concern for most consumers groups.


This assessment informs the European Commission and allows for ongoing discussion about MRLs authorised in food.

AGROLAB can offer quick detection and amount determination for ochratoxin in food. Contact your account manager or business manager for more information.


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Author: Serge Campagne