Current status of mycotoxin contamination of food and feeds and associated public health risk in Serbia
Mycotoxins are chemical hazards of microbiological origin, produced mainly by filamentous fungi during their secondary metabolism. The role of mycotoxins has been recognized in the aetiology of a number of diseases, particularly cancers that belong to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The NCDs have a leading and growing contribution to preventable deaths and disability across the globe. The NCDs are known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors. Following the increased interest in health effects caused by synergisms between natural and synthetic contaminants along the food chain, mycotoxin contamination will continue to be an area of concern for producers, manufacturers, regulatory agencies, researchers and consumers in the future. Considering that their presence in food depends strongly on climatic conditions, in Serbia, recent drought and then flooding confirmed that mycotoxins are one of the foodborne hazards most susceptible to climate change. In this article, we review key aspects of mycotoxin contamination of the food supply chain and attempt to highlight the latest trends and projections for mycotoxin reduction from a Serbian perspective.