Two recent outbreaks of aflatoxin, the toxin that is prone to develop on drought-stricken corn, should alert farmers to make a New Year’s checkup on their grain bins, according to a University of Missouri grain handling expert.

"We had drought conditions in a lot of corn production areas in the state," in 2005, says Bill Casady, an agricultural engineering specialist with MU Extension. "It’s widely known that corn grain can naturally have the molds that produce aflatoxins, and that drought-stricken corn has the potential for high amounts of those toxins. 

After finding aflatoxin in a freighter of U.S. corn in late December, Japanese officials announced they would begin testing all U.S. corn imported for human food. According to published reports, Japan has zero tolerance for alflatoxin in food corn; it does have allowable limits on the toxin in corn bound for animal feed.

On Dec. 29, a U.S. pet food manufacturer recalled some lots of dog feed after it was found to have poisonous levels of the toxin. Officials suspect at least two dogs have died from eating the feed, likely produced with corn that contained high levels of aflatoxin.

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Dealer Update, University of Missouri Extension