EU Science Hub

A validated analytical method for the determination of Ochratoxin A in spices, cocoa and drinking chocolate

Ochratoxin A can be found at trace level in spices, cocoa and drinking chocolate
©fedorovacz -
Jun 15 2017

JRC scientists developed and validated (international ring trial) a method that allows the determination of the carcinogenic mycotoxin Ochratoxin A in several food commodities at trace levels.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a secondary metabolites mainly produced by Aspergillus and Penicillium fungi.

The presence of OTA has been reported in a wide range of food products such as all types of cereals, cereal-derived products, pulses, dried fruits, wine, grape juice, beer, coffee, cocoa, nuts, spices, liquorice, and meat products.

It is therefore of utmost importance to have reliable analytical methods at hand to monitor the presence of this mycotoxins and to enforce legislative limits set for a variety of food products .

For this purpose scientists from the European Reference Laboratories for Mycotoxins hosted by the JRC, developed an analytical method based for the determination of OTA in difficult spice matrices (black and white pepper) as well as in cocoa and cocoa products. This method was subsequently validated through an international ring trial.

The method showed acceptable within-laboratory and between–laboratory precision for each matrix and it conforms to requirements set by current EU legislation. It can be considered as an EU reference method contributing significantly to consumers' health and the free movement of products within the common market.

The method is currently discussed at the CEN as an official method.

Read more in: E. Cubero-Leon et al.: "Determination of Ochratoxin A in black and white pepper, nutmeg, spice mix, cocoa, and drinking chocolate by high-performance liquid chromatography couples with fluorescence detection: collaborative study", J. AOAC Internat. 100 (2017) 1-11, doi: 10.5740/jaoacint.16-0430