Wallaces Farmer

Grain dealers must complete a compliance agreement with Iowa Department of Agriculture before doing any blending of aflatoxin contaminated corn.

Rod Swoboda 1, Editor, Wallaces Farmer

September 23, 2012

3 Min Read

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Iowa ag department's request to allow corn containing more than 20 parts per billion (ppb) of aflatoxin to be blended with corn with lower levels or no aflatoxin for animal feed. This allows the corn to be safely fed to livestock pursuant to the FDA's long-standing guidelines.


Before doing any blending of corn containing aflatoxin, the grain dealers and the state ag department must sign a compliance agreement.  A memorandum outlining the application process and a copy of the compliance agreement will be sent to all grain dealers licensed by the department and can also be found on the department's website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov under "Hot Topics."

The compliance agreement outlines the requirements for grain dealers that will be blending corn containing aflatoxin.

Each batch of blended corn must be tested to determine the aflatoxin level

These requirements include a provision that the blended product is below the appropriate aflatoxin action level in corn used as or in animal feed as outlined in FDA Guidance Document, Compliance Policy Guide- Section 683.100--the "Action Levels for Aflatoxin in Animal Feeds."  FDA granted Iowa a similar request during droughts in 2003 and 2005 when aflatoxin was found in the state.

Also, each batch of blended corn must be analyzed to determine the aflatoxin level.  The analysis must be performed using approved sampling and analysis protocols and testing procedures outlined by the USDA Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA).  These results must be provided to the purchaser of the blended corn.  The purchaser must also provide written assurance that the corn will be used for feed consistence with FDA guidance.

Finally, the blended corn must be clearly identified and labeled for animal feed use only and corn containing aflatoxin levels greater than 500 ppb cannot be blended.

FDA has guidelines for acceptable aflatoxin levels in corn based on intended use

On August 15, 2012 the Iowa Department of Agriculture submitted a request to FDA to allow corn containing more than 20 ppb of aflatoxin to be blended with non-aflatoxin containing corn for animal feed.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture has also started requiring the testing of all milk for aflatoxin—the milk testing began on August 31, 2012. So, far no problems have been discovered with aflatoxin in milk in Iowa.

The FDA has established guidelines for acceptable aflatoxin levels in corn based on its intended use. Corn containing aflatoxin in concentrations of greater than 20 ppb cannot be used for human consumption and cannot be used for feed for dairy animals or for immature livestock of others species. Corn containing aflatoxin at 100 ppb or less can be used in breeding cattle and swine and mature poultry. Corn with 200 ppb or less can be used with finishing swine greater than 100 lbs. in weight and corn with 300 ppb or less can be used in finishing beef cattle.

More information about handling aflatoxin corn, crop insurance coverage, etc.

More information about aflatoxin in corn can be found on the ISU Extension "Dealing with Disasters" page at www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters. Here are the direct links for the ISU information on testing and handling aflatoxin as well as crop insurance coverage:





About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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