Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are a class of chemicals. They consist of hydrocarbons with at least two connected aromatic ring systems. They may be produced during the processing of foodstuffs, such as smoking. They may, however, also find their way into foodstuffs unintentionally, e.g. from mineral oils. Because they may have negative effects on health – they are associated with cancer and other diseases – threshold values have been set for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Accurate analyses regarding these chemicals are therefore called for.
METAS has been designated by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) as the national reference laboratory for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in foodstuffs.
We maintain a portfolio of analyses for these chemicals in the trace level range. We carry out the analyses mainly by means of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
Method validations and other comparative studies
In order to be able to continue offering our analysis at the highest level, we take part in the method validation studies organised by the EU Reference Laboratory and in the proficiency tests organised by the EU Reference Laboratory.
If necessary, we will organise or arrange proficiency tests for the cantonal laboratories.
As the national reference laboratory for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in foodstuffs, we represent Switzerland in the meetings and working groups organised by the European network. The goal of this collaboration is to foster exchange, pass on the recommendations of the EU reference laboratories and take note of the feedback from the cantonal laboratories tasked with the official controls.
We organise an annual exchange of experiences in the field of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) analysis.
The meeting of the national reference labs for PAH will take place on 04 November 2021. For further information, please contact this e-mail address: PAH@metas.ch
Federal Institute of Metrology
Reference laboratory for (PAH)
Last modification 12.08.2021