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Call to screen infant foods for mycotoxins

ANTWERP, Belgium, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Belgian researchers are calling for infant food to be screened for toxins produced by fungi known as mycotoxins.

Researchers at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp and colleagues linked stunting and low weight -- two causes of death in early childhood -- and the toxin fumonisin produced by a corn fungus. Maize porridge is often fed infants in developing countries that grow corn.

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The study, published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, was based on research in rural Tanzania, where researchers found children shorter and weighing less after exposure to fumonisin above the maximum tolerable daily intake set by the World Health Organization.

The scientists conducting the study raised the issue of management because the fungus -- invisible to the untrained eye -- can be prevented by correct maize storage.

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