The contamination in foodstuff by ochratoxin A (OTA) has become a major problem to humans and animals. Hence, many countries have expressed interest on researching OTA. However, the current development trends of OTA are not well understood. This study discussed the research trends and hotspots of OTA and investigated the contribution of research from seven areas: countries, institutions, authors, publications, subject categories, keywords and journals. Related publications on OTA during 1965–2016 were retrieved from the Web of Science database. CiteSpace V and bibliometric technologies combined with network analysis were used in exploring research hotspots and basic statistics of OTA. A total of 4889 articles, which were contributed from 103 countries, were identified. Most countries are from Europe, such as Italy, Germany and France. The USA, which ranks first, accounts for 11.1% of the articles with 543 records. Additionally, the top three high-cited countries are Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria, all from Europe. Surprisingly, China has a large number of publications which accounts for 6 but lesser citation scores. In the subject of nutrition and dietetics, keywords ‘aptamer’ and ‘biosensor’ are emerging, which are of increasing concern. This finding indicated that the literature growth in the field of OTA would be expanding rapidly in the future. European countries are the most influential countries, especially Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria. New technologies for detecting and identifying OTA as well as nutrition and dietetics would be paid more attention by scholars or the society.