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Serbian Government Checks Corn Crop for Aflatoxin Contamination

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Serbia said it has stepped up inspections of this year’s corn crop following reports that two-thirds of the harvest has been contaminated by aflatoxins.

The Agriculture Ministry “has stepped up activities to determine the condition of this year’s corn crop” because severe weather conditions, including drought, may have resulted “in an increased contamination by aflatoxins,” the ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

Specialists from the Belgrade arm of SGS SA, Swiss industrial inspection and testing company, said yesterday that one-third of the corn is safe for human consumption and half is safe for animal feed. They tested almost 400 samples, or 10 percent of this year’s crop, for aflatoxins. The toxins are produced by fungi and considered carcinogenic to humans and animals.

The ministry referred to the report as “unchecked and factually ungrounded,” according to the statement.

Serbia’s corn output shrank 45 percent this year to about 3.6 million metric tons, mainly due to poor weather conditions.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at

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