Managing Grain Tainted by Mycotoxins

Virgil Schmitt, Field Specialist-Crops, Southeast Area

Problem Statement: 

East-central and southeast Iowa were affected by a severe drought in 2005.  In such years, corn in the field may be infected by a mold called Aspergillus flavus, which, under the right conditions, can produce a highly carcinogenic mycotoxin called aflatoxin.  The tolerance for aflatoxin in corn for general commerce is 20 parts per billion.  Many issues regarding the insurance industrys and the grain marketing systems inability to deal with mycotoxins were exposed.

Programmatic Response: 

Iowa State University Extension organized a meeting with representatives of the Food and Drug Administration, USDA Risk Management Agency, USDA Grain Inspection Service Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA Commodity Credit Corporation, IDALS Plant Management & Technology Division, IDALS Grain Warehouse Bureau , IDALS Commercial Feed & Fertilizer Bureau, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, local producers, local processors, local insurance carriers and adjusters, representatives of Senators Grassley and Harkin and Congressman Jim Nussle, and Iowa State University staff.


A very open and civil discussion occurred.  All were interested and developed an understanding of the needs and issues of the others in managing mycotoxins and the constraints under which they operated.  There was general agreement that improvements could and should be made and some specifics were identified.  The representatives of the congressional delegation committed to work on changing legislation, as needed, to allow implementation of some of the improvements.  All committed to remain in communication with each other as they work potential improvements through.

100 Corn and Soybean Production

Page last updated: April 24, 2007
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,