Contaminants & Residues
Food contaminants and other adulterating substances may be present in foods at levels that could impact the overall safety and/or quality of those foods. These substances can be inadvertently present in foods, or in some cases, intentionally added for fraudulent purposes.
Bureau Veritas can help ensure product safety and quality, offering analytical testing capabilities that cover a wide spectrum of contaminants including, but not limited to:
- Dioxins, Furans and PCBs
- Heavy Metals
- Veterinary drugs
- Radioactive substances
- Per- and Polyflourinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS)
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
As a global leader, we operate ISO 17025 accredited laboratories that are equipped with highly sensitive equipment (LC-MS/MS, GC-MS/MS, HPLC, HRMS). Our labs provide very accurate results at very low detection limits that are aligned with regulatory requirements.
With health concerns related to the use of pesticides, safe levels known as Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), have been established for countries across the globe. Our technical expertise and instrumentation can help ensure that regulatory requirements are met for over 600 different pesticides in feed and food products such as meat, dairy, fish, fruit and vegetables.
Dioxins, Furans and PCBs
Dioxins are a group of chemically related contaminants that include dioxin, furan and dioxin-like PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) congeners. They are found in the environment throughout the world, and can accumulate in the food chain causing human health concerns. Through the use of High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS) and our highly educated and trained analysts, we can detect a wide array of these compounds at very low levels.
Metals – both beneficial and harmful - can be found in food through intentional addition (fortification) or incidental addition through contact with air, water and soil. Metals appear to be found due to growing conditions, industrial, manufacturing and agricultural processes and environmental contamination. Safe levels known as Maximum Limits (MLs) have been established for foods that have proven health concerns and can cause illness and impairment. In high doses, arsenic, lead and mercury even cause death. Employing ICP/MS, Bureau Veritas can analyze a wide array of food products for 20+ different metals to help ensure the beneficial ones are present at expected levels while the harmful ones are not present.
Veterinary drugs used in food animals can lead to human health problems. Residues of such drugs may be present in foods of animal origin, including meat and poultry, milk and dairy products, eggs, fish, seafood, and honey. MRLs indicate the level of residue that can safely remain in tissue or food product derived from a food-producing animal that has been treated with a veterinary drug. Through GC-MS/MS and LC-MS/MS, we can analyze for the presence of 100+ veterinary drugs to ensure safety and regulatory compliance. This includes, but is not limited to, beta-agonists (ractopamine), steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hormones and antibiotics such as tetracylines, penicillins and fluoroquinolones.
Mycotoxins can enter the food supply through fungal contamination of agricultural commodities such as cereal grains, nuts and fruits. Mycotoxins can cause a variety of adverse health effects ranging from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer. Common mycotoxins tested include Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin, Fumonisin, Zearalenone and Deoxynivalenol. Tests can quantify total presence or provide a breakdown of the various types of each toxin.