Conclusions And Future Trends

The current use of routine monitoring systems for a limited number of chemical food contaminants and residues in food industry and food control laboratories does not mean in any way that the challenges we are facing are less, they simply evolved under the influence of globalization, new food technologies, climate change, etc. Not surprisingly different stakeholders have different wishes for improvements in chemical food contaminant and residue analysis: in industry priority will be at the implementation of rapid and inexpensive methods having a scope for those substances which are of paramount importance to their specific core product integrity. Recognized challenges are further increase of speed and reduction of costs, and extension of the scope. Despite their primary responsibility for food safety as laid down in the General Food Law, it cannot be reasonably expected from the food industry that they take care of any emerging known or unknown risk, which might pop up somewhere in the food chain. On the other hand, some of the emerging issues raised in this chapter will cause a problem sooner or later, requiring the availability of analysis methods having a comprehensive scope in order to provide an early warning to the food safety authorities and generate the data for risk assessment. We believe that bioactivity-based screening methods and full-scan accurate mass spectrometric identification methods are highly complementary technologies and both essential in this respect. It is recognized that still major efforts should be put to generic sample preparation and automated data processing and evaluation before such comprehensive tools can be routinely applied in a real-life environment. Current EU monitoring plans are restricted to a limited list of target contaminants and residues in a limited number of samples. Also current validation requirements are typically developed for target analysis. The advocated more comprehensive scope of analysis does not fit easily into such policies. It is recommended that at least a part of the associated efforts and resources is moved towards the actual application of comprehensive methods for known and unknown emerging food contaminants.

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