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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Economic aspects of mycotoxins in fruits and vegetables

item Dombrink Kurtzman, Mary Ann

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/29/2007
Publication Date: 4/1/2008
Citation: Dombrink Kurtzman, M. 2008. Economic aspects of mycotoxins in fruits and vegetables. In: Barkai-Golan, R., Nachman, P., editors. Mycotoxins in Fruits and Vegetables. New York, NY:Academic Press. p. 27-44.

Interpretive Summary: With the growth of international trade of fresh fruit and vegetables, both worldwide governments and food industries have placed a great deal of effort to develop safe food handling for both developing and developed countries. People have now become accustomed to having fresh fruits and vegetables available year round made possible by imports. Trade of fresh fruits and vegetables is now the major export for many developing countries. Although fruits and vegetables have caused outbreaks of illnesses in developing countries, there has been no link to the presence of mycotoxins. The major reason for rejection of imports is excessive use of pesticides. In fact, after examination of published reports and communications, the conclusion has been reached that there is no evidence for any economic aspects related to mycotoxins in fruits and vegetables.

Technical Abstract: International trade in fresh fruit and vegetables has grown greatly in the past twenty years, and is presently a multi-billion dollar business representing the major export for many developing countries. There has been a global effort to develop and implement safe food handling for the entire food chain at all levels of governments and the food industries. Although many factors can contribute to rejection of fruits and vegetables at the time of importation, the major issue is use of pesticides, both non-permitted pesticides and excessive use of permitted ones. Additional factors responsible for rejection of imports are the presence of contamination by filth, missing mandatory labeling, and lack of required nutritional information. Fruits and vegetables have been known to cause outbreaks of illness in developing countries, but there has been no link to the presence of mycotoxins. No firm evidence exists linking long-term ingestion of mycotoxins in commonly eaten fruits and vegetables with any type of chronic illness. The most well known economic analysis of the impact of mycotoxins was based on simulated data, and has been questioned as to whether the projected impacts were actually borne out by facts. The purpose of this paper is to examine an important understudied area, the economic aspects of mycotoxins in fruits and vegetables.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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