Food Safety, Environment and Genetics

  • Humar

Food Safety, Environment and Genetics plays a leading role in research directed at improving food safety and supporting the sustainable management of natural resources. Our aim is to ensure the quality of food products and the environment through the application of advanced chemical, microbial and genetic research.

We work consciously and determinedly to constantly expand our expertise in response to emerging threats, including climate change, industrial activities and novel organisms.

The division's chemical and microbiological research uses cutting-edge technology to gather data on undesirable substances, nutrients and microbes in food, animal feed and in the environment. This monitoring increases consumer safety, preserves product reputation in the international market, and helps to maintain our pristine environment. Further microbiological research aims to exploit Iceland's extreme environments in the search for novel microbes and biotechnological applications.

State-of-the-art genetic research develops molecular tools, particularly for application in research directed at our marine resources as a key component of Iceland's future food and economic security. Additional work applies genetic methods to improve product traceability, aquaculture and animal breeding programmes.

The risk assessment group participates in the formulation of risk assessment and risk communication in Europe, including the harmonisation of total diet study methods. In common with the whole division, many of our projects are performed in co-operation with international partners, institutions, universities, governments, domestic and foreign food producers as well as other parties serving the food industry.

We are a member of the SAFE consortium, the European Association for Food Safety. The SAFE consortium is an international association of Institutes, Universities, and other groups, with the aim of supporting research and stimulating public debate into issues of food safety. More details are available on the SAFE consortium website:

The Division of Food Safety, Environment and Genetics leaflet can be downloaded here.


Anna Kristín Daníelsdóttir (website / email)

Research groups:

Research group leaders:

Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir (Chemistry & Risk assessment) (website / email)
Viggó Þór Marteinsson (Microbiology) (website / email)


Matís Headquarters, Reykjavík

Current major projects:


EcoFishMan: Ecosystem-based Responsive Fisheries Management in Europe.

Project co-ordinator: Anna K. Daníelsdóttir, Matís
Matis participation:   Scientific Manager, Sveinn Margeirsson; Administrative Manager, Oddur M. Gunnarsson; WP leader: Case studies, Jónas R. Viðarsson
Project website:

MareFrame: Co-creating Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management Solutions.

Project co-ordinator: Anna K. Daníelsdóttir, Matís
Matis participation:   Administrative Manager & WP leader (Management), Oddur M. Gunnarsson. Key partner in the integration of novel information into EFM (WP2).
Project website: T.B.A.

Work Package Leader:


Project co-ordinator:
Matis participation:   WP leader: Mariculture of cold-water sponges & growth, Ragnar Jóhannsson
Project website:

TDS-Exposure: Total Diet Study Exposure.

Project co-ordinator: Jean-Luc Volatier, ANSES, France
Matis participation:   WP leader: Stakeholders and Dissemination, Dr. Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir
Project website:

BlueGenics. From gene to bioactive product: Exploiting marine genomics for an innovative and sustainable European blue biotechnology industry.

Project co-ordinator: Werner E.G. Müller, University Mainz, Germany
Matis participation:  WP leader: Bioprocess Development & Scale-Up; WP participation: Bioprospecting & Sample Preparation, Metagenomics & Gene Mining
Project website:

Project partner:

FOODINTEGRITY: Ensuring the Integrity of the European food chain.

Project co-ordinator: Paul Brereton, FERA, UK
Matis participation:  
Project website:

MaCuMBA. Marine Microorganisms: Cultivation Methods for Improving their Biotechnological Applications.

Project co-ordinator: Stichting Koninklijk Netherlands Instituut voor Zeeonderzoek, The Netherlands
Matis participation:  
Project website:

MicroB3: Microbial Biodiversity Bioinformatics and Biotechnology.

Project co-ordinator: Prof. Dr. Frank Oliver Glöckner, Jacobs University, Bremen
Matis participation:  
Project website: