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Food Contaminants - Introduction

Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food. These substances may be present in food as a result of the various stages of its production, packaging, transport or holding. They also might result from environmental contamination. Since contamination generally has a negative impact on the quality of food and may imply a risk to human health, the EU has taken measures to minimise contaminants in foodstuffs.

European Union measures (establishment of maximum levels) have been taken for the following contaminants: mycotoxins (aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, fusarium-toxins, patulin, citrinin), metals (cadmium, lead, mercury ,inorganic tin), dioxins and PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), 3-MCPD, melamine, erucic acid and nitrates).

The European Commission has published a factsheet on food contaminants " Managing food contaminants: how the EU ensures that our food is safe" DE FR.

Chemicals for which investigations are ongoing: