The shadow of the Ochratoxins

October 31, 2017

8. The shadow of the Ochratoxins


There is a growing threat in the chocolate world: the Ochratoxins.

What are Ochratoxins?

In simple words, Ochratoxins are fungal toxins that remain even after many processes such as roasting, irradiation, and the Dutch process (alkalization).


Ochratoxin is known to be a typical storage infection mainly developed by fungus such as Aspergillus and Penicillium. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin that may form, at higher or lower concentrations, in certain foods such as grapes, wines, cocoa beans, coffee beans, some cereals and dried fruits. And like all mycotoxins, OTA is also very resistant and also poses a serious health hazard. It can damage liver, the nervous system (in fact among its definitions OTA is also termed neurotoxin), the immune system and it may produce fetal malformations in pregnant women. 

For this reason, the European Union has set the maximum acceptable levels of OTA in foods, so as not to cause health problems in the population.


While for the other foodstuff all the risks have been specified, Cocoa is missing from the list of food of EU: in fact EU has not established the OTA Tolerable Weekly Intake for cocoa.





9. Arbitrary limits


The EU, in the Regulation 1881/2006 has set the maximum level of Ochratoxin A for certain foodstuff.

You can see some of them in the list below:





If these limits would be applied to chocolate as they are applied to other foodstuffs, such as raisins or wheat, chocolate would risk not being able to be sold on the market. That applies to all chocolates: both the gourmet and the industrial, the organic and the conventional.

An entire industry and the economies of many countries would collapse.


What is the easiest solution?

There is no way to get a good and healthier product so the easiest decision is to get rid of all the checks.


The toxicity of this mycotoxin has been scientifically recognized and for all the products limits and verifications are very strict.

Not for chocolate.




Because, otherwise the whole chocolate industry would possibly close. It is not that chocolate cannot be made without ochratoxins; it's that the production, storage, transport, processing and production chain, as it has been set up, cannot produce it.


In next post we'll tell you why our raw chocolate is ochatoxins free!!



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