Non-microbial contaminants such as pesticide residues, heavy metals, and other toxic substances are presented below.
On this page, watch or read USDA presentations, access research projects, and find links to articles and external resources containing information about chemical contaminants
USDA ARS scientists conduct research on chemical residues and contaminants.
Research publications on chemical contaminants from peer-reviewed journals.
The Food Safety Research Projects Database (RPD) contains information about research projects related to the study of pesticide residues.
Meet the Experts
Chemical Contaminant Presentations
ARS-FSIS 2019 Food Safety Meeting
- Fluxin Residues in Cattle - Why? [PDF, 5 pages]. Nancy Shappell, David Smith
- Develop, validate, and transfer multiclass, multiresidue methods for pesticides, environmental, and emerging contaminants in FSIS-regulated foods, and conduct a survey of food samples for the contaminants [PDF, 28 pages].Yelena Sapozhnikova
- Detection and Fate of Chemical and Biological Residues in Food and Environmental Systems[PDF, 31pages]. David Smith, Nancy Shappell, Weillin Shelver
- Environmental, Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory [PDF, 24 pages]. Manan Sharma
- Biocontrol Interventions for High-Value Ag Commodities [PDF, 18 pages]. Jong Heon Kim
- The distribution of environmental contaminants and pharmaceuticals among skim milk, milk fat, curd, whey, and milk protein fractions through milk processing [PDF, 39 pages]. Weilin L. Shelver, Sara J. Lupton, Nancy W. Shappell, Heldur Hakk, David J. Smith
ARS-FSIS 2018 Food Safety Meeting
- The How and Why of Sampling Analyses [PDF, 9 pages]. Emilio Esteban, Michelle Catlin
- Rapid Screening Methods for the Feed Additive Zilpaterol [PDF, 25 pages]. Weilin Liu Shelver, David J. Smith
- Progress on Development of Field-Based Rapid Methods for Foodborne Pathogens [PDF, 15 pages]. Andrew Gehring
ARS-FSIS 2017 Food Safety Meeting
- Technologies for Detection of Chemical and Biological Contaminants in Foods [PDF, 87 pages]. Guoying Chen, Steven J. Lehotay, Yelena Sapozhnikova, Johnny Perez
- Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory [PDF, 6 pages]. Moon Kim
Selected External Resources on Chemical Contaminants
A chemical reaction that can form naturally during high-temperature cooking processes in foods including frying, roasting, etc.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
A chemical contaminant from plastic products that can break down or leak into food or liquids.
Dioxins, Furans and PCBs
Dioxins, Furans and PCBs are toxic chemicals that are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in food.
A chemical element that is found in natural concentrations or through pollution in food sources, primarily in seafood.
Resources to protect food crops from pesticide residues which can leak toxic residues into food.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
PAH are a class of chemical compounds transmitted to food during cooking at high temperatures such as grilling or barbecuing.
Information about radioactive elements that can transmit to domestic and imported foods.