Food and feed safety: Cases and approaches to identify the responsible toxins and toxicants

Arjen Gerssen*, Toine H.F. Bovee, Leendert A. van Ginkel, Marlou L.P.S. van Iersel, Ron L.A.P. Hoogenboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


There are food and feed safety monitoring programs to protect consumers. These programs however, are strongly focused on known and regulated substances. New or unexpected substances that might be of risk for consumers will thus escape routine controls. These risks are therefore mainly discovered by human or animal intoxications. All kind of analytical chemical methods, in-vitro bioassays, tracking, and chain analysis are then used to reveal the substance(s) responsible for the intoxication. Only in a few occasions (new) risks were revealed in time by analytical chemical methods or cell based in-vitro bioassays. This paper describes some relevant food and feed safety cases and how the causative substances were identified. This overview strongly indicates that more intense monitoring, including the use of cell based effect bioassays, can reduce the number of intoxications. Moreover, registration and follow-up actions should be arranged in a better way, for example by sharing information within the scientific communities or by establishing a national contact point. In addition, a strategy based on broad screening and bioassay directed identification with liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry is proposed to prevent intoxications and identify toxin and toxicants relevant for food and feed safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Effect directed analysis
  • Feed and food safety
  • Identification strategy
  • In-vitro bioassays
  • Intoxications


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