Supplementary materials to World Mycotoxin Journal: Stakeholder assessment for mycotoxin analysis: exploring the demand along the European food supply chain
Mycotoxins are amongst the most prevalent food contaminants leading to serious health implications for humans and animals. Limiting exposure to them within the population remains a pressing food safety challenge. Prevention and timely detection are crucial for minimising mycotoxin contamination in food and feed. Therefore easy-to-use, rapid, eco-friendly and low-cost screening methods are increasingly implemented. Early-stage end-user engagement in the technological development process aids and guides the research towards increased societal impact. To investigate these end-user needs, the limitations of the currently used methods and the expectations towards a novel approach were mapped among stakeholders in a comprehensive survey. Stakeholders along the food supply chain (agricultural, food processing, retail, food safety and control, laboratories) were identified in five European countries and contacted. A total of 63 participants completed the survey, which was followed-up by an interview. The results of the survey revealed that different end-user groups have different priorities. Important limiting factors for agricultural, processing and retail stakeholders of the current methodologies include the complexity of sample preparation, high cost and time-to-results. Complementing the accredited laboratory tests with a pre-screening device would be especially interesting for agricultural producers (87.5% of the participants are interested) and food processors (80%), since there is an increasing demand for on-site detection of contamination. On the other hand, food control authorities and commercial laboratories indicated higher priority towards low quantification limits and multi-compound methods. The time to get the results was found to be more important than the testing cost (important aspect for 74.6 versus 66.7%). Overall, the findings of this study are critical input for end-user-targeted development of novel mycotoxin detection platforms.