Chemical Hazards in Food Safety


  1. Introduction
  2. Toxicology
    • Dose and response
    • How do toxins work?
    • How do toxins enter the body?
  3. Risk Assessment for Food Safety
    • Source of data on chemical hazards
  4. Chemical Hazards in Foods
  5. Control Measures

1. Introduction

Chemical hazards are associated with a significant number of high profile food safety alerts, recalls and withdrawals. The principles of HACCP require chemical hazards to be considered during the hazard identification and risk assessment stage and appropriate controls put in place to reduce their potential to occur and impact.

Chemical hazards can come from a variety of sources. These can be internal from within the food processing business and external associated with environmental and naturally occurring sources. On occasion they can be intrinsic to the food itself and intentionally added as part of the product formulation.

While many of this hazards and sources can be relatively easy to identify, it is common for many HACCP teams to overlook and incorrectly risk assess chemical hazards. This is often due to a poor understanding of chemical hazards, the science of toxicology and the mechanisms behind the effects of chemicals on the human body.

This whitepaper provides important information on chemical hazards required to support the development and understanding of HACCP based food safety controls. It addresses the main categories of chemical hazards associated with food and the toxicology of these hazards. This information can be used to assist in the development of more robust and informed HACCP plans. The first section will cover toxicology. Following this we will cover the main chemical hazards and finally we will provide some good reference sources to help you drill down into more detailed data required for hazard analysis and risk assessment.