Food safety testing

Food safety standards change and evolve

Ensuring the safety of the world’s food supply is critical, but there are concerns about the safety of global food supply chains because food can:

  • Be grown and processed in widely differing environments under a variety of regulatory frameworks
  • Travel thousands of miles and handled by many different operators and people
  • Experience various storage conditions with temperature fluctuations that may affect shelf life

At any point in the process, products may become contaminated and unfit for consumption. Whether you are ensuring regulatory compliance or enhancing nutrition, our food safety testing solutions strengthen the entire food chain so you can deliver the uncompromised food products that consumers worldwide expect and deserve.

Latest updates

Ethylene oxide (EtO) - the new threat in food

Hundreds of products are currently being pulled of the shelves in supermarkets all over Europe, due to contamination with the pesticide ethylene oxide (E410, E412) found in sesame seeds and guar gum produced outside of Europe. Food labs are challenged by the amount of additional samples that need to be tested now for this contaminant.

Read more on this topic:


Webinar: Toxic gases in food and the threat of ethylene oxide

In this one hour webinar, we will share the proven plug and play GC-MS solution for the determination of EtO using a triple quadrupole GC-MS/MS based on the SRM method developed at the CVUA, Stuttgart, Germany. Learn about the importance of the ion source in GC-MS/MS, sample preparation for EtO analysis and troubleshooting issues with matrices. 

Webinar sessions, 11:00 Central European Time:

  • November 16, 2021 | Italian
  • November 18, 2021 | English
  • November 23, 2021 | German

Register now

Acrylamide - in the news again

The number of positive samples for acrylamide has dramatically increased in 2021. Acrylamide (2-propenamide) has been found in some cooked foods, including fried and baked starchy foods such as potato crisps, chips, roasted coffee, breads and peanuts. In baked and fried foods, acrylamide is formed from asparagine as a by-product of the Maillard reaction at temperatures above 120 °C.

Find complete workflow solutions for acrylamide in food samples, including a proven method used by food labs all over Europe, utilizing the Thermo Scientific TRACE 1310 gas chromatograph and ISQ 7000 single quadrupole GC-MS systems in one of our recent eBooks, GC-MS for food safety analysis. 

Get your free copy here ›

Sample preparation

Food analysis sample preparation is a key step in the analytical workflow. Sample preparation encompasses far more than liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) and solid phase extraction (SPE) techniques. 

There are several stages involved in order to get from an original food sample to the analytical sample.  

  • Sample collection, including transportation and storage should be controlled as to avoid cross contamination and potential degradation of analytes.  
  • Sample processing. This can involve a number of procedures such as cryogenically freezing, avoid analyte degradation, cutting, grinding, milling and mixing, to increase the total surface area of the sample and ensure that the analytical test portion represents the whole analytical portion.  
Sample preparation using QuEChERS

Once the food sample has been prepared the analytes have to be extracted from the matrix into a solvent.  

Automated sample preparation solutions include accelerated solvent extraction, for solid and semisolid samples using solvents at elevated temperatures and pressures, automated cartridge-based micro solid-phase extraction (µSPE) and evaporation systems. These systems help to avoid cross contamination and ensure fast turnaround times and consistent reliable results and are ideal for larger volume samples and large numbers of samples.

The most common manual technique, particularly in the case of pesticides residue analysis other contaminants in food samples, is QuEChERS. Clean-up, with the QuEChERS technique uses dispersive solid phase extraction, (dSPE) to remove undesired matrix components from the sample. 

SPE is the most common form of cartridge clean-up. When using QuEChERS or SPE clean samples can be directly injected into the analytical system.

Sample preparation how-to videos

Latest food and beverage webinars

A UHPLC-PDA-CAD-HRMS platform for comprehensive identification and quantitation of constituents in complex mixtures for safety risk assessments
Using UHPLC-CAD and PCA to detect olive oil adulteration via triacylglycerol analysis

Solutions for food safety testing

Thermo Scientific can provide comprehensive workflow solutions, based on mass spectrometry (MS) coupled to ion chromatography (IC), liquid chromatography (HPLC), and gas chromatography (GC) for the analysis of residues and contaminants. Add Inorganic mass spectrometry (ICP-MS and IRMS) for the analysis of trace elements and isotopic ratios, molecular spectroscopy, discrete analyzers, software, data management and more, and you can see that we can help you meet all of your food safety analysis challenges, today and in the future.

Helping food professionals ensure food safety

Our comprehensive technology portfolio offers the sensitivity, selectivity, flexibility and innovation needed to maximize analytical scope for discovery analysis, along with the robustness required for routine applications in proven 24/7 operation.

We understand your goal is protecting public health and recognize that you may have unique requirements for your food laboratory; we provide the solutions to enable you to achieve high-confidence in the results, faster, at the lowest possible cost.


Our solutions ensure food regulatory compliance, product quality, and brand protection.

Regulators and governments

We provide tools for establishing standards and monitoring adherence to food regulations.

Helping food professionals ensure food safety

Research and academia

Our technological innovations and new approaches enable discovery.

Contract testing laboratories

We can help you achieve efficiencies and increased throughput for better business results for your food analysis laboratory.

Resources for food safety analysis

More food and beverage webinars

More food and beverage related webinars

Find more food and beverage related webinars on our analytical innovations webinars page.