Foods & Foodstuffs – Contaminants

Food & Foodstuff contaminants are defined in legislation as:
‘any substance not intentionally added to food which is present in such food as a result of the production, manufacture, processing, preparation, treatment, packing, packaging, transport or holding of such food or as a result of environmental contamination’ .

There have been several crises worldwide involving contaminants in foods due to unregulated importing / exporting and manufacturing processes. These have been publicised and have culminated in a heavy financial burden to producers, traders and national administrations.


Legislation on Foods & Foodstuff contaminants is harmonised at European Union level. It applies to a whole range of food and food products, including fresh produce, dried foods, meat (and its products), fish (and its products), edible oils, etc. These contaminants are associated with these matrices due to potential risk within manufacture practices or storage.

European Commission Directive (EC) No 1881/2006 sets maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for specific contaminants and is transposed into regional law within the EU. Any food containing a contaminant in an amount which is unacceptable from the public health viewpoint and in particular, at a toxicologically significant level must not be placed on the market. Furthermore, contaminant levels shall be kept as low as can be reasonably achieved by following good practices.

The European Commission Directive (EC) No 1881/2006 is continuously updated to include revised MPLs or add new substances of concern.


SAL can service this directive and also offer associated analysis including:

  • Heavy Metals – Cd, Hg, Pb, Sn
  • Dioxins and Furans
  • PCB (WHO 12) – ‘dioxin like’
  • PCB (ICES 6)
  • PAH
  • Mycotoxins


  • Offer quick, efficient and economic service
  • Highly responsive to turnaround requirements in ‘positive release’ situations
  • SO EN 17025 accredited testing
  • Reports with analytical results versus MPLs – rapid assessment of batch status
  • Expertise in contaminants analysis for food sector
  • Electronic access to all reports / data through on-line reporting system