ILSI Europe Session “Chemical Contamination in Food – an Update” at the IAFP European Symposium

Warsaw, Poland


Chemical food contaminants originate from various sources: unintentional pollutants, intentionally added compounds at levels exceeding legal limits or in commodities for which they have not been approved, toxic plant metabolites, contaminants generated by processing and toxic microbial metabolites.

The food sector is constantly challenged with increasing cases of emerging issues associated with chemicals for which no or little toxicological data are available. Therefore, there is a need to develop a stepwise procedure (e.g. decision tree) integrating all the existing tools with the final goal to establish levels of safety concern with sufficient confidence. This could assist in harmonising the safety assessment of chemicals for which no or only inadequate data is available.

More recently esters of 2- and 3-MCPD, and glycidyl esters have been found in refined vegetable oils used as foods or food ingredients. Determination of 3-MCPD esters has presented challenges that have required various changes to the analytical methods. The need for more information on the levels of 3-MCPD esters and glycidyl esters in foods, their toxicity and fate, the effects of processing and cooking, and the potential for mitigation of formation and exposure.

The safety concerns associated with masked mycotoxins (secondary metabolites of fungi in food products) are increasing as there are difficulties in detecting hidden mycotoxins. Also, the potential toxicity remains a threat, as further evidenced by mycotoxin outbreaks at what has been thought to be rather low or even undetectable levels of mycotoxins.

There is a need to reduce uncertainties and improve risk assessment.


The aim of this session is to inform the audience about the findings of some of the ILSI Europe activities, in the area of contaminants. The speakers will also have the opportunity to present some of their own data. Another aim of this session is to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas among scientists dealing with chemical safety issues.


Chair: Prof. Gerhard Eisenbrand, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany
Co-chair: Dr. Alessandro Chiodini, ILSI Europe, Belgium

Chemical Risk Assessment in Absence of Adequate Toxicological Data
Dr. Mark Cronin

Fatty acid esters of chloropropanols and glycidol in foods – analysis and exposure
Prof. Colin Crews

Mitigation of (masked) mycotoxins
Prof. Franz Berthiller


For more information about the IAFP event, please click here.

This session was supported by the following ILSI Europe task forces: Risk Assessment of Chemicals in Food and Process-related Compounds and Natural Toxins