Food Toxicology

Naturally Occurring Food Toxins

Food Toxins

Abstract

Many food toxins are naturally-occurring constituents or are formed from handling or processing. However, the incidence of adverse reactions to food toxins is relatively low.

The low incidence of adverse effects results from some pragmatic solutions by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory agencies through the creative use of specifications, action levels, tolerances, warning labels and prohibitions.

Manufacturers have also played a role by setting limits on certain substances and developing mitigation procedures for process-induced toxins. Regardless of measures regulators and food producers take to protect consumers from natural food toxins, consuming small levels of these materials is unavoidable. Although the risk for toxicity due to the consumption of food toxins is fairly low, there is always the possibility of toxicity due to contamination, overconsumption, allergy or an unpredictable, idiosyncratic response.