Test DDGS for Mycotoxins Due to Increased Risk This Year
Although ethanol plants don’t need to check every incoming truck for every mycotoxin, it is good practice to screen the first incoming loads of harvested corn carefully to get a sense of the mycotoxins that might be present in newly-harvested corn. The mycotoxins of most concern are Aflatoxin, Vomitoxin (DON), and Fumonisin. Testing for mycotoxins in ethanol plants isn’t new. It was implemented in most facilities when a secondary market for feed was found for the byproduct of ethanol production, DDGS (dried distillers grains with solubles).
Screening for mycotoxins appears to be especially important this year; double-digit percentages of corn in “poor” and “very poor” condition are being reported in 9 states responsible for 70% of the US corn production, according to the latest USDA/NASS 2017 Crop Progress and Condition Report (see graphic).
In other words, conditions are ripe, and it is important to test DDGS for harmful mycotoxins.
Feed markets have very strict guidelines about the levels of mycotoxins present. With the multiplicative effect of corn ethanol production, even small amounts of mycotoxins coming into the plant can be magnified to reportable levels in the end product. And because each mycotoxin has known negative health impacts in animals, each has individual limits that vary according to species and age.
Added to that, the new guidelines for complying with the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) require testing and traceability of feed components. Plants with robust quality systems have been able to utilize existing systems to comply with the requirements for analyzing hazards and reporting results. But FSMA does not give guidance as to how frequently or comprehensively to test.
In general, getting a comprehensive baseline for a season can help quality managers set their testing frequencies and cutoffs for any particular year, and support the justification for that testing. Supplementary testing of homogeneous DDGS can provide additional data points and confirmation of good quality screening of incoming materials. That approach provides the basis for complying with the requirements and intention of FSMA.
Along with offering mycotoxin tests for corn and DDGS, EnviroLogix has introduced Common Extraction testing for Aflatoxin, DON and Fumonisin that will allow for one sample preparation and a common run time when testing for these three mycotoxins in incoming corn.
The resulting operational efficiency streamlines early-season testing, and our world-class QuickScan System provides unparalleled quantification and traceability. Contact us today to find out how you can take advantage of time-saving Common Extraction mycotoxin testing.