17) ICRISAT Strategizes with Partners to Reduce Aflatoxin Levels in Groundnut-based Products in India (July 2000)

A 2-day scientific meeting on "Strategies for reducing aflatoxin levels in groundnut-based foods and feeds in India - a step towards improving health of human and livestock" was held at ICRISAT-Patancheru, 26-27 July 2000. Inaugurating the meeting, Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General stated that ICRISAT had developed important tools to diagnose aflatoxin in groundnut and was well positioned to address the issues of reducing the aflatoxin contamination in groundnut and groundnut meal.

Aflatoxin in food and feed has been found to cause liver cancer, and is, therefore, a big health risk to both human beings and animals. The problem has badly affected groundnut exports, especially from developing countries, because most developed countries have strict laws on permissible limits of aflatoxin levels in food and feed products. Smallholder farmers, groundnut oil and livestock industries are particularly affected by the problem.

The meeting gave an opportunity to the main partners of a Project funded by the Department for International Development/Natural Resources Institute (NRI), UK, to address the research and development aspects of the problem of aflatoxins in groundnut, which is of serious concern worldwide. Speaking about the partnership-based Project, Dr D V R Reddy, Principal Scientist, Mycotoxins and Virology Laboratory at ICRISAT, said, "We are currently investigating various options for reducing aflatoxin contamination in groundnut."

The participants included experts from the University of Reading, UK, Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, National Research Centre for Groundnut, and ICRISAT. Representatives from non-governmental organizations and development agencies such as Man and Ecology (AME) and the Society for Transformation Agriculture and Alternatives in Development (STAAD) as well as from Janaki Feeds, Hyderabad also attended.

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