5 Reasons Why Testing Feed and Cereals for Ergot Alkaloids Is Crucial

When it comes to livestock and poultry production, the quality and safety of feed and cereals play a critical role in maintaining animal health and overall productivity. One particular concern that deserves attention is the presence of ergot alkaloids in these agricultural products. Ergot alkaloids are toxic compounds produced by a fungus known as Claviceps purpurea, which can contaminate grains and grasses. In this news story, we will explore five compelling reasons why testing feed and cereals for ergot alkaloids is of utmost importance.


Safeguarding Animal Health:

Ensuring the health and well-being of livestock and poultry should be a top priority for farmers and animal producers. Ergot alkaloids can have detrimental effects on animals, leading to reduced feed intake, weight loss, poor reproductive performance, and even death. Testing feed and cereals for ergot alkaloids helps identify potential contamination, allowing for appropriate measures to be taken to protect animal health.


Preventing Mycotoxicosis:

Ergot alkaloids are classified as mycotoxins, which are toxic substances produced by fungi. Mycotoxicosis refers to the adverse health effects that can occur in animals exposed to mycotoxin-contaminated feed. By testing for ergot alkaloids, farmers can detect the presence of these mycotoxins and take preventive actions to mitigate the risk of mycotoxicosis outbreaks in their livestock or poultry operations.


Ensuring Product Quality and Safety:

The presence of ergot alkaloids in feed and cereals not only affects animal health but also poses a potential risk to human health. These toxic compounds can find their way into the food chain through the consumption of animal products, such as meat, milk, or eggs. By testing feed and cereals for ergot alkaloids, farmers and producers can ensure that the final products they deliver to consumers meet the highest quality and safety standards.


Regulatory Compliance:

Many countries have established regulatory limits for ergot alkaloids in animal feed and food products. Compliance with these regulations is crucial to avoid legal consequences and protect consumer trust. Regularly testing feed and cereals for ergot alkaloids enables producers to monitor the levels of contamination and take necessary actions to comply with regulatory standards, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted operation of their businesses.


Financial Impact:

The economic implications of ergot alkaloid contamination cannot be overlooked. Livestock and poultry that are fed contaminated feed may experience reduced growth rates, decreased feed efficiency, and reduce reproductive performance. These factors can result in significant financial losses for farmers and producers. By implementing routine testing for ergot alkaloids, potential contamination issues can be identified early, allowing for timely interventions, and minimising the financial impact on the operation.


Ergot alkaloid regulations are set to become even stricter in 2024, with the MRL being reduced from the current 500 µg/kg to 250 µg/kg in rye flour. Randox Food Diagnostics developed the Ergot alkaloids ELISA, which is the only commercially available kit on the market compliant with the lowest proposed maximum levels mandated by Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1399, applicable from January 1st, 2022. This includes the total of 12 main ergot alkaloids for cereal-based feed, rye, wheat, oats, barley, spelt and their milling products.


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Product Number: EA3491


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