TGM puts forth the following distinctions to aid discussion on this website because different understandings exist throughout the world regarding food safety:
Food Security —
Availability of sufficient amounts of food.
In much of the world food safety means food security and can be summed up as ‘calories in the belly today’. In the United States food security is better defined as Food Protection and Defense of both supply and infrastructure.
Food Safety —
Hygienic handling and preparation.
Manufacturers’ and retailers go to great lengths to keep facilities clean, control temperatures and train handlers and preparation staff to comply with regulations. This is also done to protect brand value.
Food Safeness —
Purity of ingredients.
Since grain supplies 60% to 75% of human nutrition and too much of it is currently contaminated with mycotoxins, a primary focus of TGM is to reduce the current contamination to as close to zero as possible. Technology now makes possible what previously had to be abided. Brand value can be enhanced by participation with this private sector food safeness initiative.
Mycotoxins can be acutely or chronically toxic, or both, depending on the kind of toxin and the dose. In animals, acute diseases include liver and kidney damage, attack on the central nervous system, skin disorders and hormonal effects. Nerve toxins may cause trembling or even death. Skin disorders may be necrotic lesions or photosensitivity, while hormonal effects include abortions in cattle, swollen genitals in pigs and a variety of poorly defined disorders including vomiting in pigs, feed refusal and failure to thrive. Toxins which act on the liver and kidney are especially difficult to detect and levels much lower than those producing acute effects are often carcinogenic. When eaten in minute quantities in the daily diet, they can cause cancers in experimental animals long after the time of eating. It is probable that humans can be affected the same way. Dr. John Pitt, Chief Research Scientist
CSIRO Food Science Australia, New South Wales, Australia
The presence of visual mold in grain or feed products does not necessarily mean that mycotoxins are present in the sample. Mold growth indicates that there are some fungi present. Many of the fungi grow under similar conditions and more than one kind of fungi can exist in or on the grain or feed product at the same time. When more than one fungi is present at the same time on the same host, they sometimes increase the toxic effects of each other by attacking different bodily functions when ingested by a human or animal. They can also cancel each other out by growing and attacking each other during the growth process. The lack of visual mold does not mean that there are no mycotoxins present. Many times during harvest or handling the visual aspects of the mold can be brushed off, but the toxic by-products can remain in the kernel.