A total of 286 wheat samples for human consumption collected during 1997-2003 from four wheat-producing localities of south-western Uruguay were screened for deoxynivalenol (DON). Quantification was carried on by an immunochemical method using immunoaffinity columns and fluorimetric detection. The incidence of DON was high during the whole survey (58.5-100%), except in 1998 and 1999 in which no contamination occurred. During 2001 and 2002, 100% of samples contained detectable levels of DON, being the mean DON contents 6593 and 5880 µg kg(-1), respectively. The annual maximum levels ranged from 8800 to 11,400 µg kg(-1). A positive correlation between DON levels and precipitation was seen. The 70% of wheat samples destined for human consumption were contaminated with DON. To avoid the introduction of contaminated materials into the food chain process, the adoption of regular screening of the DON level in wheat is recommended, particularly in years with heavy rainfall during the flowering-to-early stages of grain maturity months.