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Romanian Veterinarians Broaden Aflatoxin Testing

25 March 2013

ROMANIA - Control measures for aflatoxin in milk, dairy, and feed have intensified since suspicions emerged last week when five tested samples returned positive for the substance above acceptable limits.

These five samples have been referred to the National Reference Laboratory for verification tests and fears are emerging that milk prices will be affected. 

According to its annual program, the Romanian Veterinary and Food Safety National Authority
(ANSVSA) verifies the presence and level of aflatoxin in feed stuff, milk, and non-animal origin
products. In 2012, 81 samples of milk and dairy products were tested with no positive incidents

On March 5, following a report of aflatoxin in a milk sample collected at a dairy farm, the ANSVSA
Chief called for an intensification of the verification process. The whole amount of milk of 13,855
liters was seized at the farm and all milk deliveries from the respective farm to milk-processors or to
the automated milk distributors were detained.

The Chief also ordered the contaminated feed be removed from the feeding conveyor. As a result of this latter action, after a few days of clean feed the level of aflatoxin in samples taken at the dairy farm dropped to acceptable levels.

On March 5, the same day, ANSVSA was notified by a private company that its internal monitoring
program revealed that it was likely M1 aflatoxin limits may have been exceeded; and therefore, the
company had withdrawn all the milk under suspicion from the food chain until lab results could be
confirmed. On March 11, ANSVSA announced that the laboratory tests did not reveal an excessive
level of aflatoxin thus the milk under suspicion was considered proper for consumption.

The above measures are a continuation of actions initiated by Romanian authorities at the end of
February following the alert and measures implemented by the Serbian Agriculture Minister after
detection of high levels of aflatoxin in milk exported to Romania.

Aflatoxins are a group of chemicals produced by certain fungi, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus
parasiticus, which develop on oilseeds, by-products of oilseeds (e.g. meal), peanuts, grains and
animal-origin products (dairy products, meat products). 

In 2012 the severe summer drought favoured development of the unwanted fungi and raised concern among Romanian producers of potential aflatoxin contaminated crops after harvest.

Although no test results have been confirmed positive by the National Reference Laboratory, producer suspicion remains high for aflatoxin in last summer’s crops which is manifesting in
consumer reluctance with purchase of fluid milk.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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