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Dioxins and Other Environmental Contaminants in Food


In order to reduce exposure to dioxins and other environmental contaminants from the
food supply, four objectives have been outlined for this research project. <OL> <LI> Develop
inexpensive, rapid, sensitive, assays or improved diagnostic tools to screen samples
for dioxins, pesticides, chemical residues, and other environmental contaminants. <LI>
Investigate sources which contribute to levels of these contaminants in food animals
and identify intervention strategies that may reduce the levels.
<LI> Investigate the
uptake, metabolism, distribution, excretion, and fate after excretion of
environmental contaminants in animal systems.
<LI> Update data on levels of dioxins
and related compounds in the domestic food supply to provide Food Safety agencies
with an adequate profile of the situation and confirm the safety, security, and
competitiveness of U.S. foods and food supply.

More information

Approach: New tools, such as antibody-based or receptor-based assays, that make analyses
cheaper and less time consuming, will be developed to facilitate monitoring of
targeted chemicals in the food supply. Sources that contribute to livestock exposure
throughout the production process will be investigated and cataloged. Once
identified these sources may be eliminated or avoided in farming practices in order
to prevent or minimize entrance into the food chain. Basic research to determine
pharmacokinetic parameters for these pollutants in laboratory and farm animals will
be investigated through animal feeding studies. These data will be used to calculate
withdrawal intervals, evaluate source attribution, and elucidate strategies to
decrease contaminant levels in food animals. In addition to pharmacokinetic
parameters, studies on the fate of a chemical dosed to an animal can provide
knowledge of basic biological mechanisms that may be exploited to reduce uptake,
increase excretion, or enhance degradation of these contaminants, thereby, lowering
levels found in animal food products and the environment. Surveys of the general
food supply (especially meat and poultry) will be conducted to provide typical levels
of these compounds in U.S. foods.

Shelver, Weilin; Larsen, Gerald; Huwe, Janice; Hakk, Heldur
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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