Fusarium toxins

The exposure of Finnish population to Fusarium toxins was evaluated in a project implemented by Evira in collaboration with Agrifood Research Finland and the National Public Health Institute. Intake levels remain below the tolerable daily intake, with the exception of T-2 and HT-2 toxins, the intake of which may exceed the limit for people who eat a lot of unprocessed oat products.

In Finland, the most common Fusarium toxins produced by molds found in cereals include deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, nivalenole and T-2 and HT- 2 toxins. Fusarium toxins are found particularly in oat. Long-term exposure to Fusarium toxins may have health impacts, such as weakening of the immune system. All the effects of long-term exposure are not known at present. The symptoms induced in acute poisoning include e.g. nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

The toxin levels vary from one year to the other, depending on the weather during the growing season, in particular. The amount of the toxins can also be significantly reduced through sorting and dehulling of the grain. The maximum limits set for the levels of Fusarium toxins in cereals should be controlled on a continual basis. Control should especially focus on oat and oat products, which have the highest toxin levels.

Project group

Taneli Rautala (Evira)
Veli Hietaniemi (MTT)
Tauno Koivisto (MTT)
Marja-Liisa Ovaskainen (THL)
Harri Sinkko (THL)
Carina Kronberg-Kippilä (THL)
Tero Hirvonen (Evira)
Kirsi-Helena Liukkonen (Evira)
Mirja Kartio (Evira)
Anja Hallikainen (Evira)


2007 - 2008

Project funding

Evira, THL, MTT

Project publications

Evira Research Reports 5/2008 (description in English)