CONTACT:Andrew Rabbitt 


                  313 Pleasant Street

                        Watertown, MA 02472

                  (617) 926-7045 - Voice

                  (617) 923-8055 - Fax

                  Andrew Beaudoin-Rabbitt


The European Union's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health Sets Maximum Levels of Ochratoxin in Coffee

Watertown, MA (November 11, 2004) –– VICAM, a world leader in agricultural biotechnology and bioseparations, felt a duty to alert all sectors (industry, government, NGO's) to the important European Union decision setting a maximum level of ochratoxin A (OTA) in coffee. EU officials agreed on October 13, 2004 that the maximum level of OTA in roasted and ground coffee is 5.0 μg/kg; soluble coffee maximum level of OTA is 10.0 μg/kg. The new regulations take effect on January 1, 2005 placing greater pressure on the coffee industry to test for ochratoxin A in coffee prior to human consumption.

Klaus Ruttman, European Sales Manager, said “This new law is going to have tremendous effects on the coffee industry and coffee producers. In the last season more than 100 million 60kg sacks were produced worldwide. The EU is one of the biggest importers of coffee; Germany, alone, imported 9.4 million sacks of coffee, about 10% of the total seasonal coffee production. This regulation sent a message to the industry that OTA is an issue scrutinized by the EU. VICAM's columns have achieved the best results in testing for ochratoxin A in coffee, and are an ideal solution to compliance with the new EU OTA levels.”

“The extension of OTA regulations to coffee by the EU will stimulate producers in Latin America to more closely monitor the presence of this mycotoxin at all levels of the production chain,” said Diego Montemayor, National Sales Manager. “Furthermore, the regulation reinforces the need for more research regarding the occurrence of OTA in the coffee products exported from Latin America. I see a substantial increase in the amount of ochratoxin A testing preformed in exporter countries as a direct result of this EU Regulation.”

About Ochratoxin

Ochratoxin A is a mycotoxin produced by the fungus Aspergillus ochraceous and also by several species of Penicillium fungi.  Frequently found in green coffee, ochratoxin A will remain present even after the roasting process. Ochratoxin A is also commonly found in barley, oats, coffee, wine, wheat, sorghum, rice, and figs.  Ochratoxin A has been known to cause kidney damage in animals and is a known carcinogen for both humans and animals.  

About OchraTest and OchraTest WB

Using monoclonal affinity chromatography, OchraTest from VICAM is the trusted test for the detection of ochratoxin in coffee, and other commodities. OchraTest produces precise numerical results with levels as low as 0.25 ppb in less than ten minutes, and requires no special skills. OchraTest is also ideal as the cleanup step for any HPLC analysis.

OchraTest WB functions uses a wide bore immunoaffinity column to isolate and detect ochratoxin in beer, green coffee, roasted coffee, corn, milo, feeds and wheat. WB columns have a total volume of 3mL, compared to the total volume of 1mL found in VICAM’s regular columns. Wide bore columns allow for a faster flow rate preferred by many laboratories. 

OchraTest WB is also sensitive, detecting levels of ochratoxin as low as 0.25 ppb. The wide range enables measurement up to 300 ppb.

Availability and Pricing

Orders are currently being accepted for OchraTest and OchraTest WB.  Pricing information may be obtained by contacting VICAM or your local VICAM distributor.


VICAM is a world leader in agricultural biotechnology and bioseparations. VICAM delivers improved animal reproductivity, increased agricultural productivity, and safeguarded food quality with patented bioseparations and detection products worldwide. Their products include detection, measurement, and separations technologies for veterinary reproductive applications, food borne carcinogens, and living cells. To date, VICAM has applied its technologies to 19 products and 3 prototypes. VICAM supports a global scientific and distribution presence to develop, market, sell, and service their products in 99 countries worldwide. For more information, contact Jennifer Smith at VICAM, 313 Pleasant Street, Watertown, MA 02472 U.S.A. Tel: +1.617.926.7045 Fax: +1.617.923.8055