JRC scientists contributed to the validation of an innovative rapid test for the simplified detection of certain drugs (antibiotic residues) in honey and mould toxins (mycotoxins) in cereals. Some antibiotics are used as preventive or therapeutic treatment to protect honey producing bees from extremely dangerous bacterial diseases and mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are produced when certain species of mould (fungi) infect crops.
Effective, rapid and cheap tests to detect contaminants in food and feed are a pre-requisite to cope with the many challenges control authorities are confronted with. As a consequence industries and control laboratories have better and cost-effective methods and consumers benefit with safe food products.
Between 2007 and 2012 there were approximately 100 alerts for honey and royal jelly reported on the European Union's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). Pollination by bees is essential to the sustainability of several agricultural sectors, making health of bee colonies essential as they have a big economic and environmental impact. Mycotoxins are a recurrent contaminant problem, posing human and animal health risks in case of a high mycotoxin toxicity, contamination level and consumption of contaminated food, challenging detection methods to ensure consumer protection.