Representatives of private and public actors in the production, control and export of nutmeg participated in an online training on mycotoxins testing, April 12-14, 2021. In collaboration with the ARISE Plus Indonesia, the Agency for Food Security - Ministry of Agriculture organised the training to deepen the knowledge and competence of around 80 participants in testing methods that comply with the EU Commission Regulation.

Nutmeg is at a high risk of contamination with mycotoxins (Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin and others). Aflatoxin is a poisonous substance produced by certain kinds of fungi (moulds), such as Aspergillus flavus. It is usually found on dead and decaying vegetation and may invade food crops. High temperature and high humidity favour its growth.

Due to its carcinogenic and harmful impact on human health, the EU Commission issued Regulation No. 1881/2006 on Setting Maximum Levels for Certain Contaminants in Foodstuffs. In this regulation, the maximum permitted level of Aflatoxin in nutmeg and mixtures containing nutmeg is between 5.0 μg/kg (Aflatoxin B1) and 10 μg/kg (total Aflatoxin content B1, B2, G1 and G2). Moreover, the maximum permitted level of Ochratoxin is 15 μg/kg.

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) issued ten notifications on Indonesian nutmeg exported to the EU countries and rejected at the border during 2019 - 2020. The three main problems underlying the notifications include contamination of Aflatoxin (50%), contamination of Ochratoxin (30%), and unavailability of the Health Certificate (20%).

"Hopefully, through the harmonisation of mycotoxins testing methods of nutmeg between Indonesia and the EU, we can prevent future rejection when entering the EU market,"

said Ir. Yasid Taufik, M.M., the Head of the Center for Diversification of Consumption and Food Safety, Ministry of Agriculture, during the opening ceremony.
Indonesia dominates the production and export of nutmeg to the EU with a market share of 75 per cent.

Edward Langridge, an expert in EU food regulations, laboratory management and accreditation, delivered a detailed best practice presentation for testing nutmeg. Mr Langridge also recommended that the testing laboratories conduct proficiency testing to encourage their good performance.   

Charlota Julia Risamena, S.P, M.Si, the Head of Pest Organism Control Division, Center for Seedling and Protection of Plantation Plants in Ambon, said that the training was very insightful, especially with the upcoming accreditation of their laboratory.

"We hope our laboratory can become a reference laboratory for the Eastern Indonesia region. Especially, since Maluku is the largest nutmeg producer region in Indonesia,"

said Julia.

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