Mitigating mycotoxin risks in practice

Mitigating mycotoxin risks in practice

Bonafarm-Bábolna Takarmány Ltd. is committed to satisfying the demands of its customers and stakeholders. In this regard we use state-of-the-art technology and innovation in manufacturing our feeds to provide safe and high quality feeds for our customers. In order to comply with our objectives, we are faced with the great challenge of managing mycotoxin levels in crops from the year 2022 and the products produced from them, as well as preventing mycotoxins from entering our system with raw materials at levels that compromise feed safety.

We designed our testing system in such a way that we have a strong “safety net” at the raw material level, by which we ensure that the products we manufacture comply with feed safety regulations.
We also put emphasis on the careful selection of our suppliers and systematically evaluate them on the basis of risk management criteria. We gather information on the mycotoxin contamination of the crops in each season before buying. We perform preliminary tests, receive newsletters and notifications of test results uploaded to feed safety data bases from Hungary and abroad, as well as the potential hazards identified from these results. We modify the frequency of our testing based on this information. Currently Aflatoxin is on our radar because weather conditions were optimal for the growth of the fungi producing aflatoxins during the growing season of corn and because it also carries a direct food safety risk. We have also found DON and Fumonisin levels in our own tests that did not come close to the threshold levels but definitely need to be monitored. Based on the above we decided to increase testing frequency significantly for these mycotoxins. Besides this, we pay special attention to raw materials and products produced outside Hungary.

We perform raw material testing at the following levels:

  • preliminary test results from suppliers,
  • preliminary testing performed at the suppliers site,
  • rapid tests performed upon receipt of goods,
  • batch testing,
  • testing during storage,
  • testing when handing over to manufacturing.

This is how we ensure that we don’t even enter into agreements regarding raw materials that could pose a feed safety hazard, and that we can reject all shipments that are considered problematic despite the preliminary tests: we perform rapid tests at the gate and return any shipments if there is suspicion of them carrying a risk. In order to mitigate risks we have set thresholds that are more strict than those stipulated in regulations and the recommendations of legislative bodies.

Our colleagues responsible for feed formulation are informed continuously of the test results, which they take into account when determining the composition of our compound feeds. We compile reports and trend analyses based on the results of the rapid tests and the laboratory tests so we can take the necessary measures to minimise risks. We also receive support from the testing laboratory of Bonafarm-Bábolna Takarmány Ltd., that has a better view of trends based on the results of Hungarian and foreign samples they analyse and inform us of any relevant changes of trends.

Besides making sure that our raw materials are safe, we also have a testing scheme in place for our own products, which is updated based on the newest information. We are striving to find a rapid method to control mycotoxin levels in the finished products, but the currently available methods are not reliable yet.

In addition to this, we are committed to establishing and maintaining quality management, food safety, feed safety and environmental management systems that help us in designing our processes in a way that allows us to keep feed safety risks as low as possible.

Erzsébet Gubisiné Sófalvy
Manager, Quality assurance in feed
Bonafarm-Bábolna Takarmány Ltd.

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