Farmers urged to have corn tested for mold

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2011

RALEIGH — Extreme summer heat and recent rains have combined to increase the potential in corn for a mold byproduct that can be harmful to humans and livestock, the N.C. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin — a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus — to prevent contamination of feeds and food.
“It’s very important that farmers have their corn tested,” Troxler said in a press release.
Some farmers may need to have corn samples tested for crop insurance or quality assurance purposes.
The tests cost $22.20 per 5-pound sample, which must be submitted to a grain marketing location certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and can be sent by mail, UPS or FedEx. The following locations conduct the testing and will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays:
• Cargill Soybean Plant, to the attention of Ben Honeycutt, 1400 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC 27601. Call the plant at 919-733-4491.
• Grain Grading Office, to the attention of Judy Grimes, 407-G Griffin St., Elizabeth City, NC 27909. Call the plan at 252-337-9782.
Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested at no cost by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Constable Laboratory, 4000 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. This laboratory is not on the Risk Management Agency’s approved testing facility list, so results from this location will not be accepted for insurance claims.
Farmers may drop off 5-pound samples of shelled corn at the lab or mail them to N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Food and Drug Protection Division, 1070 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1070.
In Rowan County, farmers can also take samples to Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road. Call the station at 704-278-2624 for more information.
For more information about the aflatoxin testing program, contact Jennifer Godwin or Michelle Gilliam at the Agriculture Department’s Food and Drug Protection Division at 919-733-7366.