In this work, a previously validated analytical methodology was applied for the simultaneous determination of 11 mycotoxins (aflatoxins [AF] B1, B2, G1 and G2, fumonisins [F] B1 and B2, ochratoxin A (OTA), zearalenone (ZEA), T-2 toxin, HT-2 toxin and deoxynivalenol (DON) in food products (peanuts, corn and derivatives) collected in supermarkets in the region of Pirassununga, São Paulo, Brazil. Analyses were performed by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), using isotopic standards of mycotoxins. Analytical standards from AFB1, AFB2, AFG1, AFG2, FB1, FB2, OTA, DON, T-2, HT-2 and ZEA (Sigma-Aldrich, Brazil) were used, as well as isotopically labeled standards [13C17]-AFB1, [13C34]-FB1, [13C20]-OTA, [13C18]-ZEA and [13C15]-DON (Romer Labs, Austria), available in the laboratory. Among 61 samples analyzed, 32 had detectable concentrations of at least one mycotoxin, and among the 11 mycotoxins studied, 5 were detected, namely: AFB1, FB1, FB2, ZEA, T-2 and HT-2 toxins. However, only corn kernel samples exceeded the tolerance limit established by Brazilian regulations. The probable daily intake (PDI) for corn products exceeded the values of tolerable daily intake (TDI) for FB1 and FB2 of 2.0 μg/kg bw/day established by the World Health Organization (WHO), indicating that there is a possibility of significant risk to Brazilian public health arising from exposure to the mycotoxins studied. This survey indicated that the occurrence of fumonisins in corn-based products sold in the region of Pirassununga is high, highlighting the importance of preventive actions to avoid risks to consumers, as well as the need for specific legislation and prevention of fungal development in all the product manufacturing steps, as well as during the harvesting and storage of the grain. The higher PDI value for fumonisins than the TDI in most corn-based products warrants concern on the possible health risks related to consumption of these types of foods by the population in the studied area.
Carlos A. F. Oliveira is a professor of Food Hygiene and Toxicology at the Department of Food Engineering, School of Animal Science and Food Engineering of the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. He has been working in the Food Mycotoxicology area since the 1980´s and is very experienced in coordinating and participating in national and international collaborative projects. His current research interests are focused on analysis of mycotoxins in foods and feed by advanced LC-MS/MS techniques, decontamination strategies for mycotoxins, human and animal biomonitoring studies, and risk assessment evaluations of dietary mycotoxins.