North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging growers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin to prevent contamination of feeds and food.

Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus, and can be harmful to both humans and livestock.

“The hot summer and the heavy rains from Hurricane Irene have increased the potential for aflatoxin in corn,” Troxler said. “It’s very important that farmers have their corn tested.”

Some farmers may need to have corn samples 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.

For insurance or quality assurance purposes, farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn by mail, UPS or FedEx to a USDA-certified grain marketing location.

The following locations can conduct USDA-certified testing, and they will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays:

Cargill Soybean Plant
Attn: Ben Honeycutt
1400 S. Blount St.
Raleigh, N.C. 27601,
(919) 733-4491.

Grain Grading Office
Attn: Judy Grimes
407-G Griffin St.
Elizabeth City, N.C. 27909,
(252) 337-9782

Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested for free by the North Carolina 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; 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 the following agricultural research stations:

• Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, (910) 648-4703; Lloyd Ransom, superintendent.

• Peanut Belt Tobacco Research Station, 112 Research Station Lane, Lewiston-Woodville, (252) 348-2213; Tommy Corbett, superintendent; station contact is Margaret Pierce.

• Tidewater Research Station, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, (252) 793-4118; Jewell Tetterton, superintendent.

• Lower Coastal Plain Tobacco/Cunningham Research Station, 200 Cunningham Road, Kinston, (252) 527-3579; Phillip Winslow, superintendent.

• Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury, (704) 278-2624; Joe Hampton, superintendent.

• Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Fletcher, (828) 684-7197; Denny Thompson, superintendent.

Forms for submitting samples will be available at collection sites.

Samples also may be mailed directly to the lab at the following address:

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Food and Drug Protection Division
1070 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 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.