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From aflatoxins to zearalenone - Science makes food safe

01/2009, 12.01.2009

BfR at the International Green Week in Berlin

Mould on bread or jam is not healthy. Cutting or scraping it off doesn’t help as it’s not the mould that is unhealthy but its metabolites, the mycotoxins. They have names like aflatoxins or zearalenone. Unfortunately, they are not visible to the naked eye although they often spread through the entire food. At stand B101 of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in the theme farm (Hall 3.2) at the trade fair, International Green Week (16-25 January 2009), visitors can find out how to avoid mould and protect themselves against mycotoxins. Other work areas of the Institute presented at the trade fair are pesticide residues in food, the safety of feed for food-producing animals, hygiene in meat production and protecting consumers from adulterated wine.

“Identify risks - Protect health” is how BfR sums up its work on consumer health protection. The Institute assesses risks from food, feed, chemical substances and articles like toys, cosmetics, textiles and other consumer products. The assessments are used by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection as the basis for its political decisions on consumer protection.

Visit us - The programme at the BfR stand

BfR scientists present their work at the International Green Week 2009

From aflatoxins to zearalenone - There’s no place for mould on food: We only see the furry layer of mould; its poisons, the mycotoxins, are invisible. Under black light BfR scientists make mould visible daily to the visitors to the trade fair and share tips on how to avoid mould on food.

Besides, the following daily changing topics are presented by BfR during the trade fair:

Is there truth in wine? Stable isotope analysis can reveal whether the Grand Cru really comes from Bordeaux. At the stand BfR scientists demonstrate how this works and what else there is inside the bottle apart from grape juice and alcohol.

People eat what animals eat: Safe food for animals is the precondition for healthy food. At the BfR stand visitors can learn how BfR scientifically assesses impurities like dioxin in feed or, on the other hand, feed additives that prevent, for instance, deficiency symptoms in animals.

Pesticides in food - Are we in danger? Pesticide residues in foods are not supposed to pose any health threat to consumers. Scientists at the stand explain how they establish toxicological limit values and estimate the level of pesticide residues in food.

Mixed salads can be problematic, too. Most consumers know that meat may contain pathogenic germs like Listeria or that cooking meat through is the best way of killing bacteria. But what about foods eaten raw like mixed salads? Are germs at home on salad and what can consumers do about them?

Seven animals in one go: Is there really only beef in beef salami? BfR has developed a method to detect animal species in meat products. BfR scientists explain to visitors at their stand how DNA analysis can detect seven animal species simultaneously.

Visitors can test their knowledge on the topics presented in a quiz and take small prizes home with them.

BfR looks forward to your visit!




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