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An Investigation into the Occurrence in Food of Chemicals Used in Pharmaceuticals, Veterinary Medicines, and Personal Care Products

Institutions
FERA - Food and Environment Research Agency
Start date
2011
End date
2012
Objective

The objectives of this project were to:

  • identify and prioritise those pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines and personal care products that might be of greatest concern regarding human health if they are present in food
  • develop and validate analytical methods to measure/confirm these chemicals in different matrices
  • carry out an study using these analytical methods

Phase 1 of the project involved a desk study to prioritise human pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines and personal care products on the basis of their potential to contaminate food. This considered factors including usage, persistence, uptake and bioaccumulation potential (ie capacity of an organism to absorb a substance at a greater rate than is lost), results from previous prioritisation exercises and reported environmental occurrence.

Phase 2 involved development and validation of suitable analytical methods for prioritised contaminants at low (ng/g) (10-9 g/g) concentrations.

In phase 3, these methods were used to analyse samples of mushrooms, vegetables, fodder crops, aquaculture products and animal tissues from scenarios considered to present a potential risk of contamination. Aquaculture products imported from South East Asia were also included because of frequent reported detection of residues.

More information

Background: Human exposure to ‘emerging contaminants’ generally through indirect exposure is becoming an increasingly important issue. It is now understood that some groups of compounds previously not considered as a risk may enter the environment and subsequently the food chain by various pathways during production, usage or disposal. Therefore, the potential for the contamination of food by pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines and personal care products needs to be assessed.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project source
View this project
Project number
FS241004
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Commodities
Produce