Ten maize meal products have been voluntarily withdrawn from sale in the UK after tests showed that they contained high levels of toxins called fumonisins.
The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) reports that thirty maize meal products in total were tested after two earlier samples of maize meal were found to contain high levels of fumonisins during a wider study of these toxins in maize-based products.
Fumonisins have been shown to cause liver and kidney damage in animals after consuming high levels of them over a long period. It is possible that they could have the same effect on people.
Suppliers of maize meal in the UK have been asked by the agency to test their products to make sure they do not contain unacceptable levels of these toxins.
In addition, the FSA has notified the European Commission, which is liaising with other countries in Europe. While there is currently no limit for fumonisins in food, the EC has proposed a limit of 500 micrograms per kilogram in all maize-based foods.
Among the ten products withdrawn from sale were corn flour, organically grown maize meal and organic maize flour.