Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by many phytopathogenic and food spoilage fungi including Penicillium, Fusarium and Aspergillus. The toxicity and carcinogenicity of many of these mycotoxins, and their potential to contaminate foods and animal feedstuffs is a cause of serious concern globally, both from a food safety and food trade standpoint. Thus the rapid identification of mycotoxigenic fungi would be desirable, such that early intervention steps could be applied to help limit the amounts of contaminated materials, particularly cereals and cereal-based products, gaining access to the human food chain. With this in mind a number of PCR-based methodologies have been developed for the identification of mycotoxin biosynthetic genes in different fungal genera, together with assays developed using other genes or random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) methodologies for the identification of specific toxigenic fungi. In addition, reverse transcription (RT)-PCR, competitive PCR and Real Time quantitative PCR methodologies have also been developed for this purpose. The development of each of these techniques, their usefulness, limitations and adaptability will be discussed together with descriptions of specific examples where these techniques have been utilised in different experimental settings.