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Ensuring food safety and quality through chemical monitoring

Our aim is to ensure food safety and quality through monitoring nutrients and pollutants. Research is conducted on the effects of desirable and undesirable compounds in food, feed and the environment. This capability is constantly improved by developing new analytical methods in order to meet statutory regulations, tackle emerging threats and maintain scientific excellence.

We investigate the chemical composition of food ingredients and final products as well as changes occurring during production and storage. The specialists who work within the division have extensive experience with inorganic trace elements (e.g. heavy metals such as mercury, led and cadmium) and persistent organic pollutants such as pesticides, PCB's, and PAHs.

We follow closely all developments concerning food safety on the international level, which includes following the occurrence of various food safety hazards, development of analytical methods, evaluating emerging risks and the likelihood of them spreading to Iceland. We also provide the Icelandic authorities with information and consultation on necessary actions to tackle food safety hazards.

Our work also supports international monitoring obligations, such as the monitoring of undesirable compounds in seafood products and contaminants in marine biota in Icelandic waters; a project carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of environment to fulfil OSPAR and AMAP requirements

Current research within the group includes:

  • Evaluating food and feed quality and safety during production and storage
  • Monitoring and screening for undesirable compounds in Icelandic food products and contaminants in marine biota
  • Providing Icelandic authorities, food industry, markets and consumers with independent scientific food safety data, suitable for risk assessment as well as supporting EU regulatory maximum levels of undesirable substances in food and feed
  • Developing robust analytical methods for quantification of both inorganic and lipophilic arsenic in seafood as well as for potent environmental pollutants such as PAHs and PCBs

Our collaborations are extensive and diverse. We work with Icelandic and international authorities and policy makers to  ensure food safety and protect consumer interests in relation to food safety, while our research frequently involves collaborating with Universities and other research organisations throughout Iceland, Europe and the rest of the world.

A non-exhaustive list of the equipment and facilities operated by us can be seen here. To discuss analytical, monitoring or research collaborations please contact Dr. Helga Gunlaugsdóttir. Further details regarding service testing can also be found on our Analytical Services pages.

Research Group Leader:

Dr. Helga Gunlaugsdóttir (website / email)