Aflatoxin was one topic highlighted at the conference. Aflatoxin is toxin produced by a fungus that grows in some grain and oilseed crops. It is a cross-cutting issue affecting both humans and animals, said Dr. Tim Herrman, director of the Office of the State Chemist headquartered in College Station.

“The one-sample program is science-based adoption to risk management,”

Herrman said.

Contamination is both a food safety and public health issue, because at high doses the toxin can lead to serious illness, including acute liver cirrhosis and death in both humans and animals, Herrman said.

“At sub-lethal doses, aflatoxin exposure could increase risk of liver cancer,” Herrman said.

The one-sample strategy is a voluntary program administered by the Office of the Texas State Chemist, a regulatory agency headquartered in College Station and part of AgriLife Research. The program incorporates U.S. Department of Agriculture sampling methods outlined in the USDA Risk Management Agency Loss Adjustment Manual Program, Herrman said.

Participants must use Federal Grain Inspection Service-approved test kits validated by the state chemist office for measuring aflatoxin up to 1,000 parts per billion.

Herrman said state chemist office field investigators conduct on-site training of grain industry personnel on how to perform sampling for aflatoxin testing using official procedures. He said the field investigators “serve as the competent authority to ensure that official procedures are followed during harvest.”

Previously, without a standardized test, multiple results led to confusion among sample testing, Herrman said.

“In fact, multiple tests conducted by multiple agencies have multiple outcomes. To help bring together these multiple activities into a single activity, with encouragement of the Texas Corn Producers Board, Office of the State Chemist advisory committee and Texas Farm Bureau, we have launched the one sample strategy.”

Since the one sample test began, Herrman said tests have gone from a 60 percent deviation to 23 percent current deviation on test results.

For more information about the one sample program, visit http://otscweb.tamu.edu/Risk/OneSample/Default.aspx .

The Texas Plant Protection Association receives planning support from both AgriLife Extension and AgriLife Research, as well as industry partners. This year’s conference co-sponsor was Southwest Farm Press. For more about the association, visit http://tppa.tamu.edu/