N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is telling growers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin this year, to prevent contamination of feeds and foods.
"Another hot, humid summer means there is potential for aflatoxin in corn," Troxler says. "Having your corn tested is a good way to protect feed and food against this mold."
Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus, and can be harmful to both humans and livestock. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services notes some farmers need to have corn tested for crop insurance or quality assurance purposes. These samples must be submitted to a grain marketing location certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The tests cost $22.20 per sample.
Farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn by mail, UPS or FedEx to a USDA-certified grain marketing location, when they are having it checked for insurance or quality assurance purposes.
The following locations can conduct USDA-certified testing, and they will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays:
Cargill Soybean Plant
Attn: Ben Honeycutt
1400 S. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC 27603
Grain Grading Office
Attn: Judy Grimes
407-G South Griffin St.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909
However, farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested for free by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Constable Laboratory, 4000 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. Growers should note this laboratory is not on the Risk Management Agency's approved testing facility list; therefore, 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 at one of six agricultural research stations. Forms for submitting samples will be available at the following collection sites:
Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, 910-648-4703;
Peanut Belt Tobacco Research Station, 112 Research Station Lane, Lewiston-Woodville, 252-348-2213;
Tidewater Research Station, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, 252-793-4118;
Lower Coastal Plain Tobacco/Cunningham Research Station, 200 Cunningham Road, Kinston, 252-527-3579;
Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury, 704-278-2624;
Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Fletcher, 828-684-7197.
Samples also may be mailed directly to the lab at the following address:
N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Food and Drug Protection Division
1070 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1070
For additional information about the aflatoxin testing program, contact Jennifer Godwin or Michelle Gilliam at the NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division, 919-733-7366.