Food & Animal Feed

Dioxins/Furans (Dioxins)

UKAS Accredited – Fish Oils, Grains, Meat, Foliage and inorganic Animal feed compounds

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (dioxins and furans) are a family of over 200 chlorinated organic compounds. Dioxins are ubiquitous in the environment at very low levels, and reach humans by intake in food, inhalation and absorption through the skin.

It is generally accepted that even minute amounts of these chemicals may cause cancer and birth defects. Dioxins and Furans appear as by-products of some chemical processes and from inefficient combustion.


Commission Regulation (EC) No. 466/2001 came into force on 1st July 2002, setting legally binding limits for dioxins and other contaminants in feed and foodstuff. These regulations fixed the TWI for dioxins at 14 pg WHO-TEQ/Kg of body weight and a maximum level for fish oil at 2 pg WHO-PCDD/F TEQ/g fat.

These low human exposure guidelines necessitate the use of High Resolution GC/MS for the analysis of these compounds. Using the latest technology it is possible to measure concentrations of dioxins of one part per trillion. This detection accuracy can be compared to finding one grain of wheat in a load of 100,000 tonnes!

Samples require a pre-treatment process of solvent extraction and a chromatographic clean-up prior to the HR GC/MS analysis. Final analysis is undertaken using US EPA Method 1613 as required by international regulatory bodies (WHO, USEPA, EC etc.).

Method validation is in accordance with the latest legislation

Reporting involves identification and quantification of the 17 most toxic dioxins and furans and calculation of the I-TEQ value in order that a comparison with prescribed limits and typical background levels can be made.


Dioxin like PCB’s (WHO12)

Summary of WHO 2005 TEF Values Dioxin and Dioxin like PCBs

Click to view full table

UKAS Accredited - Fish Oils, Grains, Meats, Foliage and inorganic Animal feed compounds

Although the use of PCBs is now severely restricted it has been estimated that total world production from the 1930s to 1980s was between one and two million tonnes. The compounds are very resistant to degradation and, as a consequence, PCBs are still widely present in the environment, albeit at very low levels, and are still found in foods. The main sources of PCBs in the diet are from meat, fish and milk.

PCB’s are subject to the same regulation as Dioxins and Furans and require the same analysis procedures.

Non Dioxin like PCB’s (ICES-6)

MSSL also provides quantification and assessment of non dioxin-like PCBs as per the latest EC regulations.

Non Dioxin like PCB

Non Dioxin like PCB

PAHs (Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons)

Method - HR GC-MS

PAH contamination can be caused in foods during smoking processes and heating and drying processes that allow combustion products to come into direct contact with food. In addition, environmental pollution may cause contamination with PAH, in particular in fish and fishery products.

Analysis is carried out to meet the European Commission published regulation (EC) No 835/2011 which amended regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 in regards to the new maximum levels for polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in foodstuffs. The new limit is the sum of four PAHs to include -benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, and chrysene.

MSSL limits of detection

Acid Herbicide residue analysis

UKAS accredited – Vegetables, Fruits, Dried Fruits and Cereals
Detection limit – Matrix dependent (Typically 0.01 – 0.05mg/kg)
Acid Herbicides by LC MS/MS

Pesticide residue analysis

UKAS accredited – Vegetables, Fruits, Dried Fruit and Cereals
Detection limit – matrix dependent (typically 0.01 - 0.05mg)
Analytical methods - GCMS MS & LCMS/MS

Marchwood Scientific Services offer a broad scan analysis for pesticide residues covering 618 compounds of which 320 are covered by our UKAS accreditation.

To download a full list of these compounds Click Here

MSSL is able to meet all detection limits as set in the Processed Cereal-Based Foods and Baby Foods for Infants and Young Children (England) Regulations (2003.)


Pesticide analysis in Oils & Fats

Compounds as per EU Directive 2002/32 & 2003/100

Pesticide analysis in Salmon


Standalone Pesticide/Herbicide analysis

MSSL also carry out individual analysis for the following compounds


Mycotoxins are a group of naturally occurring chemicals produced by certain moulds. They can grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apple juice and coffee, often under warm and humid conditions.

MSSL is able to carry out the following analysis on a wide range of matrices including Animal feed stuffs:


Nutritional Analysis

Basic Nutritional includes analytically determined values of the following
Nutritional Analysis Table

Full Nutritional analysis includes analytically determined values of the following
Nutritional Analysis Table


PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid ) Analysis

The most common residues are Perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). These chemicals are accumulating in the environment and have been found in a wide range of wildlife, as well as in humans.

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate - PFOS, PFAS and their derivatives
PFOS Table

Perfluorinated chemicals are extremely resistant to degradation and environmental breakdown, and repel both water and oil.

They can be found in various applications including:

  • Surfactant in fire-fighting foam;
  • Surfactant for alkaline cleaners;
  • Emulsifier in floor polish;
  • Mist suppressant for metal plating baths;
  • Surfactant for etching acids for circuit boards;
  • Pesticide active ingredient for ant bait traps;
  • Mist suppressant for metal plating baths;
  • Mist suppressant for metal plating baths;
  • Water/solvent repellence for leather/paper;
  • Antistatic agent in photographic paper;
  • Pesticide active ingredient;
  • Waterproofing casts/wound dressings;
  • The manufacture of non-stick pans,
  • Stain/water repellents for clothing and furniture to floor waxes and paper coatings.
  • Soil/water repellence for: - carpet; fabric/upholstery; apparel; leather; metal/glass.
  • Oil/water repellence for: - plates; food containers; bags; wraps; folding cartons containers; carbonless forms; masking papers.

Research is continuing into the toxicity of these compounds and, in light of the Buncefield incident, a drinking water limit for PFOS of 3µg/l has been established in the UK.

PFOS Table

Non Dioxin like PCB

Phthalates Analysis

Phthalates have been used as plasticisers in many plastics since the 1930's, with a quarter of the total plasticiser ever produced being diethylhexylphthalate (Kirk-Othmer's Encyclopaedia). In the UK they are no longer used in the manufacture of cling film or most other food contact plastics.

The ink used to print on plastic, board and foil-packed products frequently contains phthalates, as do some of the adhesives used in packaging. Additionally they are found in products such as baby milk formula, cheese, margarine and potato crisps also in vinyl flooring, emulsion paint and PVC baby toys.


Phthalates are fat soluble, so tend to concentrate in materials such as butter, margarine and cheese. In addition, they are likely to accumulate in body fat.

MSSL test for the following compounds, analysis is by GC-MS/MS

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)

PBDE flame retardants were commonly added to furniture, infant products, and electronics for many years. They have spread through the environment and break down slowly.

MSSL undertakes analysis for the following PBDE congeners, analysis can be performed on Food’s Feeds, Waters, Soils, Sediment’s & Plastics.

Analysis by GC-MS