Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Now It's Oatmeal!

There is a report in Eureka linking a mold on oats to renal cancer. They state:

some oat-based breakfast cereals in the U.S. contain a mold-related toxin called ochratoxin A (OTA) that's been linked to kidney cancer in animal studies. The findings could have implications for consumer health. 

 The article states:

Ochratoxin A (OTA) has been found in all major cereal grains including oat, wheat, and barley worldwide and considered as a potential concern in food safety. A total of 489 samples of corn-, rice-, wheat-, and oat-based breakfast cereal were collected from U.S. retail marketplaces over a two-year period, and OTA was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Overall, 205 samples (42%) were contaminated with OTA in the range from 0.10 to 9.30 ng/g. The levels OTA were mostly below of the European Commission Regulation (3 ng/g) except in 16 samples of oat-based cereals. The incidence of OTA was highest in oat-based breakfast cereals (70%, 142/203), followed by wheat-based (32%, 38/117), corn-based (15%, 15/103), and rice-based breakfast cereals (15%, 10/66). On the basis of the incidence and concentration of OTA, oats and oat-based products may need greater attention in further surveillance programs and development of intervention strategies to reduce health risks in consumers.

 Molds are well known toxins and causes of a variety of cancers. The presence of this molecule in uncooked oats may or may not be significant but in processed oat cereals which are eaten uncooked is a concern. Especially since there is a strong push to eat oats to manage cholesterol.

Eureka continues:

Animals exposed to OTA in experiments developed kidney tumors. Although the U.S. doesn't currently regulate the contaminant, the European Union has set maximum limits for OTA in food. 

This may become a major FDA issue especially since the EU regulators have chimed in.