Toxins (Basel). 2022 Jan 19;14(2):67. doi: 10.3390/toxins14020067.
Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin that is produced after the growth of several Aspergillus and Penicillium spp. in feeds or foods. OTA has been proved to possess nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, teratogenic, neurotoxic, genotoxic, carcinogenic and immunotoxic effects in animals and humans. OTA has been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) by the IARC in 2016. OTA can be mainly found in animals as a result of indirect transmission from naturally contaminated feed. OTA found in feed can also contaminate pigs and produced pork products. Additionally, the presence of OTA in pork meat products could be derived from the direct growth of OTA-producing fungi or the addition of contaminated materials such as contaminated spices. Studies accomplished in various countries have revealed that pork meat and pork meat products are important sources of chronic dietary exposure to OTA in humans. Various levels of OTA have been found in pork meat from slaughtered pigs in many countries, while OTA levels were particularly high in the blood serum and kidneys of pigs. Pork products made from pig blood or organs such as the kidney or liver have been often found to becontaminated with OTA. The European Union (EU) has established maximum levels (ML) for OTA in a variety of foods since 2006, but not for meat or pork products. However, the establishement of an ML for OTA in pork meat and meat by-products is necessary to protect human health.