This paper proposes an indicator based 'traffic light' model as a tool to pro-actively assess the occurrence of mycotoxins in tree nuts. The model is built using a holistic approach and, consequently, uses indicators from inside and outside the tree nut production chain as the basic elements. Temperature and relative humidity (pre-harvest), harvest and drying, storage and transport conditions, crop variety and crop damage were selected as indicators. For these indicators, measurable sub-indicators (model parameters) and risk categories were defined. With these insights, a 'traffic light' model was proposed that indicates the possible risk of occurrence of mycotoxins with colour signals; 'red' indicates high risk, 'yellow' medium risk, and 'green' low risk. The current model is specified for aflatoxins in hazelnuts but can easily be adapted for other mycotoxins and/or tree nuts. Governmental organisations and the commercial sector may use such a model to anticipate on the potential presence of mycotoxins by proactive risk management.
- corylus-avellana l.
- aflatoxin production