Chemical food safety hazards in circular food systems: a review

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Food production has increasingly become effective but not necessarily sustainable. Transitioning toward circular production systems aiming to minimize waste and reuse materials is one of the means to obtain a more sustainable food production system. However, such a circular food production system can also lead to the accumulation and recirculation of chemical hazards. A literature review was performed to identify potential chemical hazards related to the use of edible and non-edible resources in agriculture and horticulture, and edible plant and animal by-products in feed production. The review revealed that limited information was available on the chemical hazards that could occur when reusing crop residues in circular agriculture. Frequently mentioned hazards present in edible and non-edible resources are heavy metals, process and environmental contaminants, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. For feed, natural toxins and pharmaceutical residues are of potential concern. Studies, furthermore, indicated that plants are capable of taking up chemical hazards when grown on contaminated soil. The presence of chemical hazards in manure, sewage sludge, crop residues, and animal by-products may lead to accumulation in a circular food production system. Therefore, it is relevant to identify these hazards prior to application in food production and, if needed, take precautionary measures to prevent food safety risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10319-10331
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number30
Early online date25 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023


  • agriculture
  • Chemical hazard
  • circular
  • feed
  • horticulture


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