Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by fungi belonging to the Penicillium and Aspergillus genera. The occurrence of patulin in fruit juices marketed in Italy in 2008 and purchased from supermarkets and retail shops has been measured. The aim of this study was to assess the presence of patulin in order to evaluate the potential risk for the consumer and, at the end of this food chain, to determine the quality of the raw material used. One hundred and five fruit juices (35 apple juice, 35 mixed-taste juices, 35 pear juices), produced by various Italian and European companies, were analysed using a previously published method. The analytical investigation showed that apple juices had a concentration of patulin ranging between 6 and 30 µg l(-1), with a mean of 18 µg l(-1); mixed fruit juices had a concentration ranging between 1 and 45 µg l(-1), with a mean of 23 µg l(-1). Instead, pear juices had a concentration ranging between 5 and 92 µg l(-1), with a mean of 43 µg l(-1), and 14 samples of the 35 analysed juices showed a patulin level above the highest regulated limit of 50 µg l(-1), imposed by European Commission Regulation 1881/06.
Keywords: fruit juices; mycotoxins; patulin.