January 2011 – The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) has
released the latest Scientific Information Bulletins (SIB) on the topic of Chemical Hazards in Food. This SIB presents authoritative science on emerging and headline food science issues. It is produced by IUFoST experts for legislators, consumers, food science departments and the more than 200,000 members of IUFoST Adhering Bodies worldwide.

“It has been said that 99 % of all toxins are naturally occurring and also that all things are toxic at a high enough concentration.” However, some chemicals have arisen as problems associated with food processing techniques developed in the last 100 years or so. Other hazards are contaminants introduced by accident during the production of the food raw materials - sometimes these are unavoidable and sometimes they are to a greater or lesser extent caused by poor growing, post-harvest or processing conditions.

Most difficult to predict or control are the chemical hazards introduced deliberately, generally as a consequence of fraudulent trading (e.g. addition of melamine to milk to boost the apparent protein content).

Chemical hazards can thus be divided into five broad categories:

• Inherent ('Natural') toxins

• Natural and environmental contaminants

• Process and storage-derived contaminants

• Deliberately added contaminants

• Pesticides and veterinary residues

“The purpose of this review is to give a broad overview of the types of chemical hazards that can occur in foodstuffs, to indicate how they arise and how they are measured and controlled. The examples given are representative of the many types of issues that the food industry has to face on a daily basis.”

These and the other titles in the series of IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletins provide an outline of the scientific principles involved in the topic, underpinned by the scientific expertise of the authors of each SIB and including provision of key and scientifically reliable online and other sources of further information on the topic. They are available online at http://iufost.org/iufost-scientific-information-bulletins-sib Each SIB is prepared by an expert or small team of experts selected by the IUFoST Scientific Council. The draft is reviewed and approved by the IUFoST Scientific Council, the body responsible for the quality and integrity of IUFoST science activities. It is elected by the General Assembly from International Academy Fellows nominated by the Academy.

This Scientific Information Bulletin has been added to the SIB