John L. Richard, PhD, thinks you should know which mycotoxins are of concern in your facility, based on the ingredients you use. Richard is an independent consultant to several petfood companies, both domestic and international, in the field of mycotoxin testing. Richard further counsels that you should determine your criteria for accepting or rejecting these incoming ingredients. Next, you should choose a test kit based on these criteria, and it should perform acceptably in your hands.
Most of the error in testing for mycotoxins, says Richard, is in sampling. You should be cognizant of the appropriate methods of sampling the various kinds of vessels delivering commodities to your facility.
Rapid test kits
Several commercial firms have marketed rapid test kits for use in determining the aflatoxin concentration in corn samples. These test kits are self contained and provide all the necessary instructions to complete an analysis on-farm, at the elevator or at the buying point.
It is important to remember that aflatoxins can be concentrated in a few kernels that contaminate an entire load. For this reason, a representative sample is essential to determine the degree of contamination. A multi-level probe sampling at several sites and depths will give the best results. AOAC approved methods generally agree that an initial sample weight of 10 pounds (5 kilograms) is desirable.