Understanding Mycotoxin Contamination Across the Food Chain in Brazil: Challenges and Opportunities

Toxins (Basel). 2019 Jul 15;11(7):411. doi: 10.3390/toxins11070411.


Brazil is one of the largest food producers and exporters in the world. In the late 20th century, the European Union program for the harmonization of regulations for contaminants in food, including mycotoxins, led to the examination of mycotoxin contamination in foods at a global level. The problem of the rejection of food by the European Union and other countries became a Brazilian national priority because of economic and food safety aspects. Ochratoxin A in coffee and cocoa and aflatoxins in Brazil nuts are examples of the impact of technical trade barriers on Brazilian foods. To overcome these threats, several strategies were undertaken by Brazilian and international organizations. In this context, the Codex Commission on Food Contaminants (CCCF) has emerged as a forum to discuss with more transparency issues related to mycotoxins, focusing on establishing maximum levels and codes of practices for some commodities and mycotoxins to ensure fair trade and food safety. Our experience in investigating and understanding mycotoxin contamination across the food chains in Brazil has contributed nationally and internationally to providing some answers to these issues.

Keywords: Brazil nuts; aflatoxins; cocoa; coffee; fungi; mycotoxins; ochratoxin A; trade barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bertholletia / chemistry
  • Brazil
  • Cacao / chemistry
  • Coffee / chemistry
  • Food Chain
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Safety
  • Mycotoxins / analysis*


  • Coffee
  • Mycotoxins