The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has established a ‘mycotoxins’ laboratory – a major step to aid the development of a viable agro-processing industry.
It would help to properly monitor the infestation of mycotoxin in food supply to enable the country to competitively export cereal grains, legumes, animal and animal products.
“Ghana is unable to competitively export the aforementioned crops because of the uncertainty of toxin levels.”
Apart from the export industry, the laboratory would also assist to make sure that food supply for local consumption and industry are also safe.
According to the KNUST 2016 Research Report the laboratory is equipped with mycotoxin and chemical analytical capability for testing raw materials and end products within the food industries, poultry and livestock, especially in the central and northern parts of the country.
Mycotoxins are a group of naturally occurring chemicals produced by certain fungi and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates that 25 per cent of the world’s crops are affected by these of which the most notorious are aflatoxins.
These potent toxins have severe effects on animal and human health as well as adverse economic impact in terms of reduced livestock productivity, loss of foreign exchange earnings and costs of monitoring and detoxification.
The report said the laboratory would help to respond to the lack of commercial and research responsive analysis system that would serve the industry to meet demands of increasingly more sophisticated markets.
It was set up through private/public partnership between United States Agency for International Development (USAID), KNUST, Agro Food Processing Companies and Ghana Poultry Industry.
The mycotoxins laboratory has been working with both local and internationally sponsored projects and rendering analytical and consultancy service to food and agro-processing industries, regulatory agencies, donor agencies, research institutions, students and the general public, the report added.