Persistent Organic Pollutants in Food

Dioxins and other POPs

Environmental pollutants in foods and beverages—such as persistent organic pollutants, also known as POPs—are of great interest when it comes to food safety. Dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are among the most common.

Using state-of-the-art systems, we provide solutions for some of the most challenging food safety and environmental pollutant determinations.

Popular persistent organic pollutant analysis products

Persistent organic pollutants

Resistant to environmental degradation, persistent organic pollutants mainly accumulate through bio-accumulation within fatty deposits in meat, fish, eggs or other dairy products. They can have significant effects on humans and animals as they migrate through the food chain.

Dioxins in food, such as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), constitute a group of highly toxic organic compounds formed unintentionally, mainly in waste combustion processes or as by-products of industrial manufacturing of certain chemicals, such as chlorinated pesticides.

Continual changes in POPs research and regulatory requirements drive the need for ever-lower limits of detection and quantitation, for both known and unknown compounds. View the on-demand POPs symposium recent developments in POPs analysis .

To reinforce our commitment, we have established a Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Center of Excellence, staffed with experts in POPs analysis, to be used as a direct resource for our customers and associates. Located in Bremen, Germany, the center supports our customers and associates internationally.


Sample preparation solutions and columns

Suitable for extraction of pollutants from high-fat content and dry foods

Extract organic pollutants from solid and semisolid samples prior to POPs analysis by using Dionex ASE 350 and ASE 150 solvent extractor systems. The system uses elevated temperature and pressure with organic and aqueous solvents to increase the efficiency of the extraction process.

The use of the novel water-absorbing polymer of the Dionex ASE Prep MAP expands the capabilities of the accelerated solvent extraction technique and allows for the extraction of analytes from samples containing up 85% water.

Dry or concentrate samples directly in a vial

Concentration and evaporation is an important step in achieving accurate analytical results with sample extracts. The Thermo Scientific Rocket Evaporator automates this process and can be used either to dry samples completely or to concentrate them directly into autosampler vials. This system can process large volumes of solvent extract (up to 450 mL) and also allows direct transfer of 60 mL extract from the accelerated solvent extraction system to eliminate manual sample transfer steps during the POPs testing process.

Our broad range of high-quality chromatography columns and consumables is designed to ensure that analytical systems operate at peak performance, providing optimal sample assessment regardless of matrix type.

Thermo Scientific TraceGOLD GC columns provide excellent quality and performance and Thermo Scientific LC and LC-MS columns and consumables are designed to meet the challenging requirements of POPs analysis.

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GC-MS solutions

Ultimate sensitivity & maximum robustness
  • World-Wide Method compliance (e.g. EPA 1613)
  • Best Dioxin installation spec
  • Highest available sensitivity
  • Robust-by-size with large volume ion source

The gold standard for dioxins & POPs, the Thermo Scientific DFS Magnetic Sector GC-HRMS is the only GC-MS specifically designed for dioxin and POPs analysis. The DFS GC-HRMS offers worldwide full compliance with any official dioxin, PCB or PBDE method (for example, EPA 1613, 1668, 1614). Exploit the benefits of highest available dioxin sensitivity and robustness, delivered by our large-volume ion source. 

High sensitivity & ease-of-use
  • Ease-of-use
  • Compliant with EU regulations for dioxin food & feed analysis
  • Great price/performance ratio

The Thermo Scientific TSQ 8000 Evo GC-MS/MS brings a compelling productivity opportunity to your laboratory. It offers you fully compliant analysis of dioxins in food and feed in accordance with the latest EU regulations, meeting stringent European Union performance criteria. High productivity within more efficient lab workflows accelerates sample turnaround times.

The power you need to identify unknowns
  • The ultimate research tool
  • Highest resolution and mass accuracy
  • Unique unknown identification capabilities

The affordable Thermo Scientific Exactive GC Orbitrap GC-MS is the first-ever combination of high-resolution gas chromatography and high-resolution, accurate-mass (HRAM) Orbitrap mass spectrometer. It is an easy-to-use, dedicated benchtop GC-MS system that provides highest confidence for emerging POPs research with unmatched performance in compound discovery, identification, and quantitation for a comprehensive understanding of your samples.

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LC-MS solutions

Continual changes in POPs research and regulatory requirements drive the need for ever-lower limits of detection and quantitation. The Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantiva Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer uses active ion management to exceed even the most stringent analytical requirements with superb sensitivity, speed, and dynamic range.

Thermo Scientific Orbitrap technology can screen samples for targeted contaminants such as dioxins and POPs, followed by quantitation of the contaminants. Screening samples for unknown contaminants is one of the most challenging workflows in the laboratory. It requires a different experimental and data analysis approach which can also be addressed with Orbitrap technology.

  • Targeted mass lists are used to trigger MS/MS analysis of compounds of interest
  • The system rapidly and automatically performs MS/MS on the components detected in the MS spectrum with HRAM at a speed amenable to UHPLC
  • Full-scan MS and MS/MS allow quantitation and confirmation of identity in the same run
  • After data is acquired and components are identified, the data can always be re-evaluated for new compounds of interest
Uniquely tailored for a workflow-orientated POPs quantification

Thermo Scientific TargetQuan 3 software is designed specifically for laboratories performing routine quantification of POPs in a regulated environment. Comprehensive processing of MS, MS/MS, and HRMS data is now possible on a single software platform for the seamless quantification of:

  • Dioxins and furans
  • Polychorinated biphenyls
  • Brominated flame retardants
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • Polychlorinated napthalenes
  • Other target compounds requiring isotope dilution techniques
Direct knowledge for POPs quantitation

Perform targeted screening, routine quantitation, and qualitative review of GC, GC-MS, LC, and LC-MS data with Thermo Scientific TraceFinder software. This easy-to-use software provides quantitative workflows and reports for routine POPs analysis. It’s compatible with Thermo Scientific GC-MS and LC-MS systems, and most GC and LC detectors.

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Featured instrument videos

Instruments for environmental pollutants in food

Watch these videos to learn more about our food and beverage analytical solutions using the most comprehensive line of instruments, equipment, consumables, chemicals, reagents and software available. You can also visit the food and beverage video library.