Dietary exposure assessment and risk characterization of citrinin and ochratoxin A in Belgium

Food Chem Toxicol. 2021 Jan:147:111914. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2020.111914. Epub 2020 Dec 8.


Exposure to mycotoxins is a worldwide problem. To ensure public health, it is imperative to characterize the risks related to these toxins. The present study aims to conduct a dietary exposure assessment of citrinin (CIT) and ochratoxin A (OTA) in the Belgian population using consumption data of a variety of foodstuffs. A total of 367 food samples from different food categories were collected in Belgian supermarkets and analysed for CIT and OTA using a validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method. Daily CIT and OTA exposure to the Belgian population was calculated based on the analytical results and food consumption data in three age categories (3-9, 10-17 and 18-64 years), obtained from a national food consumption survey. Furthermore, a risk characterization was performed for CIT, in which no intake values exceeded the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 200 ng kg-1 bw day-1, indicating no health risk. However, a CIT intake level of 187 ng kg-1 bw day-1 was detected for children in the age category of 3-9 years in the worst case scenario for rice, indicating that rice consumption could contain a potential health hazard for young children. For OTA, a potential health risk was detected in several food categories (biscuits, croissants, rice, flour, meat imitates, herbs and spices) in the higher percentiles (P99) or at maximum found concentrations when calculating the margin of exposure (MoE) for neoplastic effects. An attempt to perform a cumulative health risk assessment for both toxins was done. Although a high number of uncertainties is involved, combined margin of exposure (MoET) values indicated a potential health risk related to the combined exposure to CIT and OTA. For the first time, our study demonstrated the potential health risks of CIT and OTA after individual and combined exposure, in particular related to rice consumption. Moreover, further research is recommended concerning multiple mycotoxin exposure in young children.

Keywords: Citrinin; Exposure assessment; Mycotoxins; Ochratoxin A; Risk characterization.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Citrinin / administration & dosage*
  • Citrinin / toxicity*
  • Dietary Exposure*
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Ochratoxins / administration & dosage*
  • Ochratoxins / toxicity*
  • Risk Assessment


  • Ochratoxins
  • ochratoxin A
  • Citrinin