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Revista de Salud Pública

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DUARTE-VOGEL, Sandra  and  VILLAMIL-JIMENEZ, Luis C. Micotoxins in Public Health. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2006, vol.8, suppl.1, pp.129-135. ISSN 0124-0064.

Mycotoxins have become a worldwide problem due to their high incidence and levels of occurrence in human food and animal feed. The conditions for colonising substrates by mycotoxigenic fungus and later contamination by mycotoxins play an important role in surveillance and control strategies. The main mycotoxigenic funguses are the Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp. and Fusarium spp genera, the main mycotoxins of interest for human health being aflatoxins, trichothecenes, ochratoxin A, fumonisins and zearalenone. These mycotoxins’ toxic action mechanisms constitute a risk for both human and animal health, causing diseases in both populations. The situation in Colombia is complex due to the lack of research having been carried out; the few studies made to date have demonstrated the high levels of contamination of food and feed in the country. This paper discusses mycotoxins’ potential risk to public health, the difficulties involved in diagnosis and legislation and suggests policy implications for food safety.

Keywords : Mycotoxins; public health; food supply; veterinary medicine.

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