Organic contaminants are undesirable, harmful substances, which are found at trace level in foodstuffs. They are not present in food due to a deliberate action, but find their way into it through contact with air, water or soil, enter it during the manufacturing process or are generated during manufacturing as process contaminants (e.g. acrylamide or 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD)).
Food producers need to ensure that their products are toxicologically safe and in compliance with all legal requirements through the use of analytical testing.
How Eurofins can help
Eurofins is the global leader in the analysis of organic contaminants, process contaminants and migration residues. We offer to examine a large number of organic contaminants of anthropogenic origin, process contaminants and migration residues, in a great variety of food and feed.
- Baby food
- Fish, seafood and aquaculture
- Fish meal and fish oil
- Meat and meat products
- Egg and poultry products
- Milk and dairy products
- Convenience products
- Nuts and dried fruits
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains and cereal products
- Bakery products
- Herbs and spices
- Flavours, oleoresins
- Coffee, cocoa
- Tea, herbal tea, fruit tea
- Oils and fats, e.g. olive oils
- Food ingredients and food additives
- Soy sauce
- Dietary food
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Pet food
- Packaging materials
- 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) and 2- and 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol esters (2- and 3-MCPD esters)
- 4-methylimidazole (4-MI)
- Chlorate, perchlorate
- Chlorophenols, such as pentachlorophenol (PCP)
- Dichloropropanols (DCP)
- Dicyandiamide (DCD)
- Disinfectants, e.g. quaternary ammonium compounds, such as DDAC and BAC
- Ethyl carbamate
- Glycidyl esters
- Illegal dyes: sudan dyes and other illegal dyes
- Melamine and other structurally related compounds such as cyanuric acid, ammelide and ammeline
- Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons (MOSH), Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH) and Polyolefin Oligomeric Saturated Hydrocarbons (POSH)
- Plasticisers, such as phthalates / adipates
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
- Residual solvents (such as BTEX and VCH).
- Semicarbazide (SEM), photoinitiators (isopropyl thioxanthone: ITX; 2-ethylhexyl 4-dimethylaminobenzoate: EHDAB)
Eurofins is the industry leader in analytical testing, including testing for organic contaminants, process contaminants and migration residues.
Our laboratory equipment includes extensive state-of-the-art analytical equipment for the analysis of organic contaminants. As some of our applied methods are partly automatised, we are able to offer short turnaround times to give you a quick assessment of your food and feed samples.
Our laboratory equipment includes the following devices:
- various homogenising tools even for larger sample quantities
Sample extraction and purification
- automatised SPE
Analytical devices/Measuring methods
- GC-MS systems with EI or CI options and various injection technologies
- GC-MS/MS systems
- LC-MS/MS systems
- online-HPLC-GC-FID systems
- Headspace GC-MS
Arsenic and other heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury are all considered toxic and have adverse health effects in human metabolism. Accumulation of heavy metals in the food chain can occur by bio-concentration e.g. from water or the food source. Main intake sources of heavy metals are fish and seafood, fruits and vegetables, nuts and cereals. In the case of lead, drinking water is also of major importance. Since the toxicological effects of heavy metals and arsenic on babies and infants are of special relevance, the safety of baby food is also in the spotlight.
- Lead has a very low acute toxicity. Most essential long-term effects are its neurotoxicity for infants and its effects on the cardiovascular tissue of adults.
- Cadmium is primarily nephrotoxic and may cause bone demineralisation.
- Mercury mainly occurs as methyl mercury in fish and seafood, and is extremely toxic on the nervous system. Other foods usually contain less toxic inorganic mercury.
- Arsenic also occurs in organic and inorganic compounds, of which the latter is clearly more toxic and may cause cancer of skin, lungs and the urinary tract.
Regulatory bodies around the world have set maximum limits for lead, cadmium and mercury in different food groups such as meat, fish, seafood, cereals, vegetables, fruits and products thereof, fats and oils, milk, baby food and infant formulae.