Safe Food and Feed through an Integrated ToolBox for Mycotoxin Management (MyToolBox)

03/2016-02/2020

This third-party funded project is conducted in the framework of the BfR research programme on the safety of national and international supply chains.

EU grant agreement number: 678012

Project homepage: www.mytoolbox.eu

Project description:

MyToolBox mobilises a multi-actor partnership (academia, farmers, technology SMEs, food/feed industry, and policy stakeholders) to develop novel interventions aimed at achieving a significant reduction in crop losses due to fungal and mycotoxin contamination. MyToolBox will not only pursue a field-to-fork approach but will also consider safe-use options of contaminated batches, such as the efficient production of biofuels. A major component of MyToolBox, which distinguishes this proposal from previous efforts in the area of mycotoxin reduction, is to provide the recommended measures to the end users along the food and feed chain in a web-based toolbox. Cutting-edge research will result in new interventions, which will be integrated  with existing measures in the toolbox that will guide the end user as to the most effective measure(s) to be taken to reduce crop losses. We will focus on small grain cereals, maize, peanuts and dried figs, applicable to agricultural conditions in EU and China. Crop losses using existing practices will be compared with crop losses after novel pre-harvest interventions, including investigation of genetic resistance to fungal infection, cultural control, the use of novel biopesticides (organic-farming compliant), competitive biocontrol treatment, and development of forecasting models to predict mycotoxin contamination. Research into post-harvest measures, including real-time monitoring during storage, innovative sorting of crops using vision technology and novel milling technology will enable cereals with higher mycotoxin levels to be processed without breaching regulatory limits in finished products. Research into the effects of baking on mycotoxin levels will provide better understanding of process factors used in mycotoxin risk assessment. Involvement of leading institutions from China is aimed at establishing a sustainable cooperation in mycotoxin research between the EU and China.

BfR parts of the project:

A highly structured and logical work plan has been drawn up with the input of all project partners including end users, such as farmers and food processors. Five integrated research and innovation work packages (WP) and an overarching project management WP have been designed.

The BfR is involved in the management of WP 4 “Practical implementation and contribution to standard setting”. Here, the individual measures will be implemented in the MyToolBox decision support e-platform, followed by the evaluation of the tool from various angles through a multi-actor approach with end users and stakeholder groups at relevant points in the food chain in different countries, including socio-economic analysis. The tasks of the BfR involve the analysis of processing factors for mycotoxins in food chains, particularly in cereal chains, and comparison with the legal obligations in the EU. Points to be changed in food standards in order to implement the MyToolBox outcome will be identified and discussed with representatives of the European Commission.

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