Food and Food-contact

Our company was founded in 1961, primarily to undertake research and provide advice on food chemical toxicology. As a result of the advisory activities, our outstanding team of scientists was able to accumulate decades of hands-on experience in the evaluation of the potential human health effects of a wide range of food components, whether additives, novel ingredients, natural toxins or contaminants.

Almost as valuable as our toxicological competence, is our reputation as a reliable honest broker between links in the supply chain allowing proprietary information to be used but commercial confidentiality to be fully honoured.

Packaging is a potentially important source of food contamination and thus our opinion as to whether a particular food-contact material is posing any significant toxicological risk is regularly sought. The compositional information provided by the supplier of the product (whether that be an adhesive, confectionery wrapper, food label or whatever) allows us to estimate exposure levels, to determine worst-case consumption of each individual component. A comparison with either the available toxicity data or, in the absence of such, our estimates of this toxicity, leads to an opinion on toxicological acceptability. Our formidable ability to search for published data, our skill in conducting read-across from structurally related chemicals, and our expertise in applying the threshold of toxicological concern (TTC) concept, ensures that our opinions on safety-in-use are robust and respected.

Examples of our endeavours in the food arena
  • Finding or deriving health criteria values (HCVs) for substances present in food
  • Summarising the toxicology of chemicals potentially present in cleaning agents
  • Assessing the hazards of natural compounds associated with food contamination or spoilage
  • Reviewing the effects of ultrasound on food integrity and food safety
  • Recommending a tolerable daily intake (TDI) for a contaminating pesticide
  • Toxicological support for the registration of a novel biocidal active to be used by the food industry
  • Food additives and contaminants – preparation of concise reports on their toxicology, HCVs, food levels and estimated dietary intake levels
  • Crisis management – urgent evaluation and advice on potential risks presented by contamination incidents
  • Potential new additive – advice on the possible health risks for members of a tasting panel involved in a sensory analysis trial
  • Problem ingredients – identifying the component(s) of a beverage that might have been responsible for observed sensory hyperreactivity reactions in a subset of consumers


…and on food-contact materials
  • Toxicological assessment of food-contact material migrants and derivation of oral TDIs
  • Risk assessment of a pipework product used for conveying food and beverages
  • Health risk assessment of elements leaching from a filter used in deep fat fryers
  • Coldseals applied to confectionery bar wrappers – evaluation of the toxicological risks that these might present, in view of the possibility of direct contact between the coldseal and the foodstuff which could lead to potential transfer of its individual components to the food
  • Laminates used as the base for printed fruit labels – toxicological risk assessment of the occasional ingestion of a fruit label made up of such laminates
  • Inks used on fruit labels – toxicological risk assessment of the occasional ingestion of a fruit label containing particular ink formulations
  • Adhesives used on fruit labels – toxicological risk assessment of the occasional ingestion of particular adhesives as a result of this use


Recent work in this field

More about our company Meet the team Our recent work