I saw the below tweet by Market Analyst Arlan Suderman. Given our recent posts like What’s That In Your Wheat? and upcoming What’s In Your Rice? and since I had no idea what on earth aflatoxin is and why it is blended with corn, I thought it warranted looking into.
In case you didn’t know either let me give you the ‘skinny’ on alfatoxin:
So why are Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska getting approval for a carcinogenic mycotoxin to be allowed in the blend?
Researching a little I found that alfatoxin is the byproduct of a mold that tends to spread during times of drought – of which the Corn Belt has suffered this summer.
The FDA normally forbids the mix of grain high in alfatoxin with ‘clean’ grain but has in the past relaxed this when state officials request – which they are now doing.
According to the standard FDA guidelines milk can only have 0.5 parts per billion (ppb), human food lower than 20 ppb and animal feed up to 300 ppb.
I found out that it is hard for humans to consume large amounts of alfotoxin but that the effects aren’t pleasant, think liver disease.
So I asked the man in the know on twitter, Arlan Suderman, I “understand it’s hard 4 us 2 consume large amounts but can feeding animals followed by meat consumption end up in blood stream?” …. and from this, the power of twitter for learning became evident, thanks to tweets from:
=> The levels allowed are considered to be able to be broken down by the animal and not end in the product.
=> This was followed up with the reality that it can get into milk pretty easily. I found out that four dairies in Illinois have been caught with alatoxin in their milk and now have no where that will take its milk. As a result, unsurprisingly those in the biz won’t purchase blended corn.
=> Back in ’88 under a similar situation corn had to be buried as it was unusable.
=> Some States require all milk to be checked, so by definition I presume some don’t.
=> Out in dairy country Illinois, if any positive milk alfatoxin samples are found in the milk, it will send the local barley (an alternative feed) market to the moon.
=> The basis for high quality corn could get out of control.
=> Alfatoxin can get through to the meat we consume: with milk, chickens and immature animals as the least tolerant to breaking it down.
Understandably this is an interesting question of supply and demand, a real issue for those who are in the business of growing both corn and also utilizing it for production, a health concern and I hope an interesting insight for those that just look at little bars on a screen.
The real fundamentals move markets.