A team of researchers from the University of Granada in Spain has used a newly developed analytical method to show that some commercial apple juice products contain the mycotoxin patulin at levels above those permitted by EU legislation.
The Spanish team used a method called “dispersive liquid–liquid microextraction (DLLME) for the extraction and preconcentration of patulin, followed by determination by micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC) with diode-array detection. They examined 19 batches of eight commercial apple juice products, including conventional and organic juices and products aimed at children.
The results revealed that more than half of the samples tested contained patulin at concentrations greater than the relevant EU maximum. Some conventional juice samples contained up to 114.4 µg/kg of patulin – more than twice the legal limit of 50 µg/kg. A sample labelled as baby food was contaminated with 162.2 µg/kg. The permitted maximum for such products is only 10 µg/kg.
Patulin is produced by fungi of the genera Penicillium, Aspergillus and Byssoclamys growing on fruit, especially apples, and is known to be toxic to animals at high concentrations.
A report of the Spanish study is published in the journal Food Control and an abstract can be found here.