Monitoring for chemicals in foods

The contamination of food by chemical hazards is a worldwide concern for public health and a cause of international trade problems. Contamination may occur through environmental pollution, as in the case of toxic metals, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins, or through the intentional use of chemicals, such as pesticides, animal drugs and other agrochemicals. Food additives and contaminants resulting from food manufacturing and processing are also chemicals which can adversely affect health.

The WHO/Europe food safety programme collaborates with the WHO European Environment and Health Information System (ENHIS) to gather and assess data on chemical contamination of food in the WHO European Region. Indicators currently available relate to exposure to chemical hazards in food and to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in human milk.