Mycotoxins in Grains

Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that are toxic when consumed by animals or humans. They can accumulate in small grains and other feed crops in the field. They can also accumulate in grain during transportation and during improper storage favorable for the growth of the toxin-producing fungus.

Items of Note on Mycotoxins

While FMH will follow the defined procedures as prescribed in our Loss Adjustment Manual and/or the Special Provisions of Insurance, please refer to the items below for further information when looking to make a claim on Mycotoxins:
  • An economic level of mycotoxin must be present in the grain before any reduction in value will be allowed. Current economic levels for aflatoxin begin at 20 parts per billion (ppb).
  • The mycotoxin level must be due to an insurable cause of loss.
  • The mycotoxin testing must be performed by an Approved Testing Facility (ATF). To be an (ATF), the testing facility must:
    • Perform quantitative testing,
    • Be a recognized commercial, governmental, or university lab, this includes elevators with approved testing facilities on site that industry recognized sample sizes, equipment, and procedures for testing the specific mycotoxin, and
    • Be a disinterested testing facility (not involved in the sale of the grain)
  • Grain delivered to an elevator not meeting the definition of a (ATF) must be sampled by our adjuster prior to storage, even if only temporary (see 6 below). OR (if approved by us) the elevator may be advised to extract an additional sample for submission to an (ATF). Samples from loads may be blended so that one sample is submitted for the unit or samples from several loads within the unit may be grouped and blended so that multiple samples within the unit may be submitted corresponding to the respective loads. We suggest these samples be marked with at least the following information: Insured Name, Unit number, Load number(s), Farm Name, Date, Agency/Company, and Initials or signature of the elevator employee responsible for the sample.
  • Grain being farm stored must be sampled by a loss adjuster prior to storage, to confirm whether economic levels were present before going into storage. There is one exception to this rule and that is if the toxin present is vomitoxin. In the case of vomitoxin, samples may be pulled from farm stored grain, but still only by the adjuster.
    • It is extremely important that the sample submitted to the ATF for testing is a representative sample. Insureds who are concerned about losing the identity of their grain or availability and quality of an acceptable representative sample should plan on leaving representative sample areas (RSA’s) of the crop in the field to be sampled by the adjuster. The number, location and size of these RSA’s need to be pre-authorized by the FMH adjuster.
    • It is the insured’s responsibility to request the mycotoxin tests, but our adjusters will be the ones responsible for submitting the samples to the ATF's. Many ATF’s say they would need from 2 to 4 pounds to perform the test. Likely if you had a gallon sample it would be adequate. However, depending on the ATF and the type of test used this may vary so we recommend contacting the ATF that will be used in the area to find out how much they need and what to put the sample in (i.e. plastic, paper, etc.). The cost for having a sample tested may range from $20 to $30 per sample or more. Insured’s are responsible for paying any expenses incurred for the testing and likely will need to provide the payment in advance.
    • Once it is determined the sample exceeds the economic level it is eligible for Quality Adjustment (Q/A). There may be pre-established discount factors, or in some cases if the grain is sold, the Q/A may be determined by the reduction in value (RIV). See the Special Provisions of Insurance for the procedure used to reduce the production to count to take into consideration the quality deficiencies.
    • If the grain is eligible for Quality Adjustment and is determined to be of zero market value, the production to count may be considered zero if the grain is destroyed in a manner acceptable to us. Keep in mind the absence of a local market does not automatically give the grain a zero market value. Refer to the LAM “adjustments to production” for information on establishing value.