In collaboration with the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA), BIOTROP trained 29 researchers from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam on prevention and control of mycotoxins contamination in food and feedstuff on 25-30 September 2014 at VNUA in Hanoi, Vietnam. The training was BIOTROP’s fourth regional offering since 2004.
The training was designed in response to the growing global concern on ensuring food and feed safety against mycotoxins contamination such as aflatoxin, Fusarium toxin and ochratoxin. Mycotoxin contamination is prevalent in tropical and humid environments which generally characterize the Southeast Asian region. When ingested, mycotoxins have been considered to cause mycotoxicosis which can result in an acute or chronic disease episode. Aflatoxin, for instance, has long been linked to liver cancer. Thus, the training was aimed to equip the participants with basic and applied knowledge and skills on the techniques for the analysis, prevention, and control of mycotoxins in food and feedstuff and, in the process, establish a network of practitioners within the region. Specifically, at the end of the training, the participants were expected to be able to (1) Identify the factors affecting fungal growth and mycotoxin contamination in food and feedstuff; (2) Isolate, enumerate and identify fungi infecting food and feedstuff; (3) Analyze mycotoxins in food and feedstuff; and (4) Practice appropriate methods to prevent and control mycotoxin contaminations in food and feedstuff.
To achieve the training objectives, the participants received lectures and underwent laboratory exercises on the following topics: (1) Mycotoxin: A continuous global concern; (2) Overview of food mycotoxin problems in Southeast Asia; (3) Risk assessment and Vietnam regulations for mycotoxins; (4) Spoilage fungi in food and feedstuff, their prevention and control; (5) Sampling, sample preparation and isolation of mycotoxin; (6) Method development and quality assurance of mycotoxin analysis; (7) Fumigation as an alternative measure to control mycotoxins in food and feedstuff; (8) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in relation to prevention and control of mycotoxins; (9) Fungal isolation, enumeration and identification; and (10) Mycotoxin testing solution from farm up to table.
During the opening program, VNUA Vice President for International Affairs Prof. Dr. Nguyen Xuan Trach welcomed the participants, resource persons, and BIOTROP’s Governing Board members. In officially opening the training course on the other hand, BIOTROP Director Prof Dr Bambang Purwantara emphasized the importance of ensuring food safety as a global issue. He said that the training course falls under the Centre’s program thrust on community welfare and as a respond to the growing interest and need to build more capacities in the region to ensure food safety. He gladly noted VNUA’s concern on this matter and thus agreed to jointly implement the training course.
As a training course requirement, the participants developed and presented their action plans during the last day on how they will apply the knowledge and skills they gained from the training course in their respective institutions. BIOTROP Deputy Director for Program Dr Jess Fernandez congratulated the participants for coming up with interesting action plans that could be pursued in collaboration with BIOTROP. In officially closing the training course, he encouraged the participants to continue engaging themselves in preventing and controlling mycotoxin contamination in food and feedstuff through research and training, and maintain networking with each other and with BIOTROP.
The resource persons and facilitators during the training course were Prof. Dr. Okky Setyawati Dharmaputra, Mrs. Santi Ambarwati and Dr. Jess Fernandez from BIOTROP, Mr. Tran Cao Son and Ms. Le Thi Phuong Thao from the National Institute for Food Control of Vietnam and Mr. David Le and Mr. Jerry Ding from Vicam.
The training course was held back-to-back with BIOTROP’s 52nd Governing Board Meeting.