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Aflatoxin Content Changes In Copra By-Product During Shipment Of Bulk Cargo From The Philippines To Europe

The European Union (EU) import regulation for aflatoxin content in copra by- product was reduced from 50 ppb to 20 ppb in 1991 and this put the market at severe risk. A project (referred to as the RP-UK Project) was initiated between the Philippme Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) during the early 1990s with the objective of reducing aflatoxin levels in copra and copra by-product produced in the Philippines so that the European market could be saved. Several research studies were undertaken including a survey of aflatoxin in copra along the processing, handling and marketing chain. The research described in this paper was undertaken to establish whether levels of aflatoxin were likely to increase during shipment of copra by-product to Europe as had been suggested. Three shipments of copra by-product were monitored for quality and aflatoxin changes during the voyage to Europe. The consignments were sampled for aflatoxin at loading and later during discharge in Europe. The main research findings were:

• The risk of significant aflatoxin contamination during shipping of copra from the Tropics to Europe was generally fairly low
• The initial moisture content of the copra by-product being shipped in this study (less than or equal to 9%) was sufficiently low to prevent the development of unsafe conditions
• The GAFTA-100 samplmg protocol gave similar results to those obtamed using the more rigorous protocol adopted by the RP-UK Project.

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