The Food Grain- Wastage- Increased Disease Burdens - Seeker's Thoughts

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Friday, 7 September 2018

The Food Grain- Wastage- Increased Disease Burdens


According to a World Health Organization paper titled, ”Mycotoxin”, Mycotoxin are found in mouldy (affected with fungus) grains and food. These moulds can cause human disease due to production of aflatoxin (cancer causing), trichothecenes, Ochratoxins, Cirtinin and other toxins.
Moulds in Food Grains - wheat

What is worrisome?
This Aflatoxin causes abdominal pain, vomiting, hepatitis, and death after acute exposure to high concentration in food. Chronic low dose exposure to aflatoxin can result in low growth in children.
The issue is highlighted due to Indian grain especially paddy and wheat are stored in outdoors under tarpaulins throughout the rainy season.  Rainy season get these stored grain infected with mould.
After this the grain is converted into flour or flour based product, which is contained in air tight containers to prevent ould. However, the Mycotoxin already travels into the food. The Indian government is aware of the consequences, and there are regulations in place to prevent the purchase of mouldy grains from farmers. But there are no studies or research is done in procuring grains in stores using CAP (Cover and Plinth) methods. 
Storage of Grains

What should be done?
There are enough technologies, like steel, cement and other building material can be used in storing the food grain. Proper utilization of resources should be the priority.  India is a growing economy, and food grain production has been increased in recent years, but failure of storing it in proper place will create huge burden of disease among population.
Punjab has built public private partnership for Basmati rice storage, and the facility is temperature controlled grain silos. The government can formulate certain policies after learning from Punjab.
Lesson to be learnt from abroad.
North America and mid-west has been procuring the grain under large grain silos and a railway system to export those.
United States of America has permanent storage capacity of nearly equal to annual grain production.
However, in India only four Silos are there in Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, and Hapur – Ghaziabad. 6 percent around 1800000 tonnes is wasted as it is extremely fungus ridden, while at other side, the major population starves to hunger.