Reference Laboratory for Process Contaminants in Foodstuffs


During processing of foodstuffs or foodstuff ingredients, process contaminants can form in processes including fermenting, smoking, drying, refining and heating at high temperatures. Well-known process contaminants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), free 2- and 3-monochloropropanediols (MCPDs) or MCPDs esterified with various fatty acids, glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE), acrylamide and furans. As these can have a negative impact on human health, maximum levels have been defined in foodstuffs. Accordingly, we are dependent on a reliable analysis of these substances.

METAS has been appointed by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) as the National Reference Laboratory for Process Contaminants in Foodstuffs.

For this substance class, we maintain a portfolio of analyses in the trace range. We perform the analysis mainly using gas and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC- and LC-MS).

Proficiency Testing

Validation of methods and suitability tests

In order to continue to offer our analytics at the highest level, we are taking part in the validation of methods studies and in the suitability tests organised by the EU reference laboratory.

If required, we will organise and mediate suitability tests for the cantonal laboratories.


Symposium of the National Reference Laboratory for Process Contaminants

As the National Reference Laboratory for Process Contaminants in Foodstuffs, we represent Switzerland in the meetings and working groups organised by the European network. The goal of this cooperation is to promote dialogue, to pass on the recommendations of the EU reference laboratories and to receive the feedback from the cantonal laboratories entrusted with the official controls. To that end, we organise an annual symposium on analysing process contaminants.


The next symposium of the National Reference Laboratory for Process Contaminants will take place on 5 November 2024.

Last modification 06.06.2024

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Federal Institute of Metrology
Laboratory for Organic Analysis and References
Lindenweg 50
3003 Bern-Wabern
T +41 58 387 01 11

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