Contaminants

Contaminants

What poses a risk?

Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food or feed and may pose a risk to animal and human health. These substances can be microbiological or chemical and can enter the food supply at various stages of its production, packaging, transport, storage or preparation. Food manufacturers operate quality assurance systems to avoid contamination during food production.

Safe food handling at home and in establishments where food is served is also critical to reducing the risk of contamination. 


Food processing technologies recommended to reduce the levels of mycotoxin contamination in food

07 November 2016

Food processing steps that reduce mycotoxin levels should be integrated wherever possible in food production recommends a paper commissioned by an ILSI Europe taskforce...


Pesticides and health (Q&A)

01 November 2016

Pesticides are substances used to repel or destroy harmful organisms known as pests (e.g. insects, weeds, fungi or rodents) to prevent diseases, or protects plants or plant products during production, storage and transport...


How to reduce acrylamide formation at home (Infographic)

28 June 2016

This is an infographic outlining how to reduce acrylamide formation at home.


Process contaminants in vegetable oils and foods pose potential health concerns finds EFSA

18 May 2016

Contaminants in vegetable oils and fats (and foods containing them such as cookies, pastries and others) pose a potential health concern to average consumers for young age groups...


Over 400k deaths worldwide each year caused by preventable foodborne illness, WHO estimates

14 January 2016

One in 10 people fall ill every year from diseases caused by consuming unsafe food and water. The result is 420,000 deaths worldwide of which almost one third concern children under five...


EFSA opinion on acrylamide

30 June 2015

On 4 June 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released its scientific opinion on acrylamide in food. The conclusion was that based on evidence from animal studies, dietary exposure to acrylamide potentially increases...


Process contaminants in vegetable oils and foods (Q&A)

18 May 2015

Process contaminants are chemical substances that have not been intentionally added to food but are produced during cooking, heating or purification of foods or ingredients.


The safety of bottled water

03 March 2015

Regardless of whether drinking water comes through a tap or from a bottle, its safety is of primary importance. Bottled water manufacturers must ensure that waters they produce and pack meet strict quality and safety standards.


EFSA’s opinion on bisphenol A: No health risk to consumers

03 March 2015

On 21 January 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released its scientific opinion on the risks to public health related to the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in foodstuffs. The conclusion was that BPA poses no health risk...


Naturally occurring endocrine active substances (Q&A)

08 December 2014

An endocrine active substance can interact or interfere with hormonal activity; when this leads to an adverse effect it is called an endocrine disruptor...


Ebola (Q&A)

08 December 2014

Ebola is a rare and often fatal acute illness, resulting from infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. The origin of Ebola virus is unknown, but fruit bats are considered the likely host.


Bisphenol-A (Q&A)

08 December 2014

Bisphenol A is a chemical used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastic or epoxy resins, to confer a unique balance of rigidity, transparency and heat resistance...


Arsenic (Q&A)

08 December 2014

Arsenic is a metal widely distributed in the environment that can be found in two different forms: organic and inorganic...


Aluminium (Q&A)

08 December 2014

Aluminium is a metal, such as iron, tin and copper. It is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust and makes up about 8% of the weight of the earth’s surface...


Viral foodborne illnesses

12 August 2014

Viral foodborne illnesses are caused by a number of different viruses, which can contaminate foods during all stages of the food supply chain.


Acrylamide (Q&A)

11 June 2014

Acrylamide can be formed as a result of cooking certain foods, particularly plant-based foods that are rich in carbohydrates and low in protein, at high temperatures.


Assessment of the risk to humans posed by exposure to low levels of chemicals

03 December 2013

The Threshold for Toxicological Concern (TTC) is an approach used to assess the risk (if any) posed by chemicals to which humans are exposed at very low levels but when no toxicity data are available...


Consumption of raw milk poses a realistic and unnecessary health threat

01 October 2013

Belgian researchers found that heat treatment does not alter the nutritional value of raw milk and that it remains the most effective method to increase its microbiological safety.


Insights into the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in certain ready-to-eat foods

23 July 2013

The European Food Safety Authority recently published the findings from a European Union (EU) survey on the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in certain ready-to-eat foods, i.e. fish (hot smoked, cold smoked or gravad fish)...


Boosting the benefits and minimising the risks: determining optimal seafood consumption

12 July 2012

The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (ANSES) recently published the findings of a study which considered the risks and benefits associated with seafood consumption and determined...


The World Health Organization exposes myths about foodborne disease

08 April 2010

At the 6th World Congress of Science Journalists, epidemiologist Dr Claudia Stein from the World Health Organization explained why food safety matters and exposed eleven myths about foodborne diseases.


Influenza A(H1N1) virus (Q&A)

08 May 2009

The virus involved in the Spring 2009 global influenza outbreak is a new strain of influenza virus affecting humans. Although referred to as swine influenza in many reports, scientific evidence shows that it is different from the swine influenza virus...


Avian Influenza: Is it safe to eat poultry meat and eggs?

19 February 2007

Birds, like people, can have the flu. Avian influenza or bird flu was first identified over 100 years ago during an outbreak in Italy. Over the years, the disease has appeared from time to time in regions all over the world...


Microbial genomics: A new tool to increase food quality and safety

01 April 2005

There’s a new discipline in town: genomics, a new field of science that analyzes and compares the complete genome (genetic material of an organism) of organisms or a large number of genes...


Contaminants in fish: Weighing up the risks

01 December 2004

Public confidence in fish has been dented by a report highlighting risks associated with exposure to environmental contaminants, such as mercury and dioxins, known to accumulate in fish. However, all available data and interpretation by competent authorities indicate contaminants in fish are far below the critical danger levels.


Campylobacter jejuni: A lesser known bacteria

01 July 1999

Campylobacter jejuni is one of the world's major food poisoning bacteria. British scientists have recently determined its entire genetic make up, which should lead to an understanding of the mechanism of Campylobacter virulence as well as strategies to control it.


Foodborne illness: its origins and how to avoid it

01 August 1996

Safety is a priority at every stage of the food chain from farm to fork. However, foods may occasionally become contaminated to a level which spoils the food or could cause illness if eaten.