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Steps urged to reduce tainted food

By Wang Qian | China Daily | Updated: 2014-05-21 10:27

Scientists say govt could cut waste by $13.6 billion a year.

China must act to combat toxic funguses that destroy grain harvests, and the situation is "an invisible threat" to human health worldwide, experts said.

"Prevention and control of mycotoxins is an urgent need for China and the world in guaranteeing food and environment security," said Chen Mengshan, head of the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, at the opening ceremony of the International Mycotoxin Conference 2014 in Beijing on Tuesday.

Hosted by the academy's Institute of Agro-products Processing Science and Technology, the conference drew more than 300 officials, scientists and entrepreneurs from 28 countries to share their perspectives on the global prevention and control of mycotoxins. The conference will end on Friday.

With proper prevention and control measures, the country can avert economic losses in mycotoxin-contaminated food and food products, which are up to 85 billion yuan ($13.6 billion) a year, scientists said.

About 31 million metric tons of grain a year are tainted by mycotoxins during production, storage and logistics, according to the State Administration of Grain.

Mycotoxins are toxic fungal metabolites produced by molds, which occur frequently in areas with a hot and humid climate that is favorable for the growth of molds. The metabolites can even cause sickness or death in humans or domestic animals when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

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