Chemical instrumental methods for food safety and risk assessment

The RIKILT Institute for Food Safety is, together with the laboratory of the NVWA, responsible for analysing samples for the presence of a wide variety of environmental and other contaminants and residues of pesticides in the food chain.


The goal of the project is to develop methods and carry out research with which insight can be obtained into the presence of environmental contaminants and residues of pesticides as effectively and efficiently as possible in a number of matrices for food safety, enforcement of regulations and risk assessment. This project focuses on chemical instrumental methods, including data processing, and in particular innovation in this field. The specific objectives of the research are:

  • Conventional method development: the development of methods for tracing residues and contaminants in matrices for which methods based on current technology are not yet available.
  • The applicability of new technologies with which faster, more efficient and/or more effective inspection and monitoring can be carried out.
  • Exploratory surveys and fate studies of ‘emerging’ contaminants.

In combination with analysing samples from the monitoring programmes, this project also contributes to the maintenance and further development of analytical-chemical expertise in general and in the NRL domains in particular. This is an on-going project. A programme of topics will be adopted annually.


In 2014, the research will focus on the following:

  1. ‘Emerging and novel’ BFRs in the food chain in accordance with EU recommendations
  2. Residues of specific pesticides in baby food
  3. Limitation and compensation matrix effects in LC-MS
  4. The feasibility of tracing counterfeit pesticide formulas with the assistance of the NIR

Project results

The results of the research will be new or improved analysis methods and data concerning the prevention of existing and emerging contaminants and residues of pesticides in the food chain. In 2014, a method will be developed and data generated for 'emerging and new' bromine-based flame retardants and other prioritised environmental contaminants in products with an animal origin. Baby food will be analysed for the presence of a number of specific pesticides. A screening method that will enable registered pesticide compounds to be distinguished from counterfeit products will also be tested.