Mycotoxins as a biosafety and biosecurity concern in the Philippines
Jonathan Jaime G. Guerrero1,*, Ric Ryan H. Regalado2, Rohani C. Navarro3, Frederick John B. Navarro4
1University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Manila, Philippines
2University of the Philippines Diliman, National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
3University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health, National Training Center for Biosafety and Biosecurity, Manila, Philippines
4SciLore LLC, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Philippines
Biosafety and biosecurity principles are cornerstones of food sustainability, and ensures a safe and secure food from farm to table. The challenges of mycotoxins especially in low-resource countries such as the Philippines remain a major concern in agriculture, medicine and allied fields. In agriculture, mycotoxin post-harvest contamination are crucial causes of losses in yield and reduced quality of products. In health, mycotoxins pose a threat to vulnerable populations such as children, elderly, and the immunocompromised. Findings of this research revealed that at least 18 families of fungi are utilized by various communities across the Philippines for food and medicine, as well as used for a variety of purposes that relates to their cultural practices and beliefs. Mycotoxicoses incidence, although low in the country, may be due to under-reporting or diagnosed as a different ailment. Prevention requires a strict adherence to standards to eliminate the risks of mycotoxigenic fungi. Philippine standards for detection and regulatory limits are mostly based on the European Union regulatory commission, and much has to be done to improve the implementation of such standards and practices. Agricultural commodities prone to mycotoxin contamination are also subject to national standards and policies but also require massive mainstreaming among local farmers and food producers.