Mycotoxins, a poisonous chemical found in the corn used in pet foods, are causing animal sickness and irreparable brand damage. To solve this issue, SORTEX LumoVision, a solution developed by Swiss technology group Bühler, uses the spectral scale to kick out mold from pet food, keeping the costs of market recall down and pets safe.

In 2021, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) alerted customers of fatal levels of aflatoxin, a strand of mycotoxin that attacks the liver, found in 1,000 lots of pet food. From the bad batch, it is reported that 130 dogs died. This statistic provoked lawsuits and anger from dog owners and the wider industry. However, the damage of mycotoxin contamination does not stop there.

RECALLING PRODUCT IS EXPENSIVE

One of the major costs of mycotoxin contamination is market recall. Recalling a product from the market is not cheap, in fact, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) discovered that the average cost of market recall is USD10 million in direct costs alone. The financial hits of recalling product include: disposing of the product, reimbursing customers, and business interruption. The GMA survey showed that 81% of respondents deemed the financial risk of market recall to be 'significant to catastrophic'.

CONTAMINATED PRODUCT DAMAGES BRAND IMAGE

Financial costs and damage to health are not the only repercussions of mycotoxin contamination. Once the media are aware of the situation, brand image can take a significant hit. For consumers, it takes a lot to repair trust in a brand, and while brand damage is difficult to measure, this can further cost companies millions in lifetime value.

CONTAMINATED PRODUCT CAN CAUSE MASS WASTE

Before the LumoVision, contaminated grain would have been disposed of in large amounts. During testing, if the batch has a high concentration of mycotoxin, in many cases, the entire batch is destroyed. In fact, as few as 2 highly contaminated grains in 10,000 can render an entire batch unsafe. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) estimate that USD932 million is lost per year to crops contaminated with mycotoxin. This removal of the contaminated material may protect the consumer, but it costs businesses and the environment a lot more.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Bühler SORTEX faced the challenge of mycotoxin contamination head-on. After discovering a breakthrough 'invisible indicator' of contamination on the spectral scale, Bühler created the LumoVision, an optical sorter that can reduce the aflatoxin level by up to 90% (as indicated by industrial trials). This reduction brings many samples to regulation levels, saving companies from the costs of large-scale material waste and market recall.

It works by analysing the colour each kernel fluoresces as it passes under powerful UV lighting in the sorter. It is known that contaminated kernels fluoresce a specific bright green colour, a substance called kojic acid, which is produced by the Aspergillus fungus at the same time as it produces aflatoxin. LumoVision's proprietary, highly sensitive cameras and a powerful LED-based UV lighting system can precisely detect this colour of fluorescence. Within milliseconds of detection, air nozzles deploy to blow contaminated kernels out of the product stream.

When dealing with toxins, early intervention is critical. This is not only important in reducing the toxins consumed by pets, but also to lower wastage and the environmental footprint. Without proper cleaning and sorting, poisonous mycotoxins can cause large-scale wastage of materials, mass market recalls, and harm to pets.

Dr Gerardo Morantes, Director of Food Safety-Americas Region at Buhler, had the following to say: 'Mycotoxins are a worldwide concern. However, technology made possible by Bühler SORTEX enables a preventative solution, meaning that mycotoxins can be dealt with early, stopping the spread and removing the contamination to meet regulatory standards.'

Without intervention, mycotoxin contamination can bare a large cost for businesses, including, brand reputation, market recalls and material waste. With the SORTEX LumoVision, brands can stay profitable, customers can stay happy and pets can stay safe.

By Bühler Group


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About company

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About company

Who are we?

We are a Swiss family company with more than 150 years in the market, present in more than 140 countries, 30 manufacturing sites and 100 service stations. Allowing us to be a leader in the supply of technologies and solutions for the transformation of grain into flour and food, as well as in the production of pasta and chocolate. We also provide the solution to produce feed, petfood and aquafeed. Our portfolio also includes die-casting, wet milling, and surface coating processes.

Bühler began operations in Mexico in 1959, and currently has headquarters and a service station in the city of Toluca, from which it serves the region of Mexico,Central America and Cuba, with the sale of equipment and spare parts, engineering, automation, technological consulting, roll reaconditioning among others.

How can we support the pet food, fish, and shrimp food industry?

Bühler is capable to supply the complete solution for feed, petfoof and aquafeed, based on the following pillars food safety, efficiency, and sustainability. Therefore, we can provide; from plant design, pre-engineering, installation, to automation services, plant assessments and training, all based on personalized attention from sales, technology, and customer service, seeking to develop our customer´s success with long term relationships.

Our process solutions range from the grain receiving, cleaning and handling systems, storage, ingredient dosing, mixing, fine and wide grinding, extrusion (single or double shaft extruders), pelleting, drying, coating, and cooling. Enabling the production of wide range of products: sizes, colors, textures and ingredients.


We invite you to learn about the success stories of our customers around the world, our solutions and above all to schedule an appointment with our industry specialists, who look forward to serving you.


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