Other Contaminants

C K Winter, University of California at Davis, Davis,

CA, USA

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Food may be contaminated with many chemicals that pose the potential for toxicological consequences in humans consuming the contaminated food items. In addition to the presence of contaminants such as mycotoxins, pesticide residues, and heavy metals, food may contain numerous organic contaminants that enter the food supply from environmental sources or as a result of chemical reactions that occur during food processing. This article focuses on three types of food contaminants: dioxins (including dibenzofurans and polychlorinated biphe-nyls), acrylamide, and perchlorate. Each of these classes has been subject to considerable regulatory scrutiny, scientific study, and popular media coverage. It is likely that concerns regarding the presence of these contaminants in the food supply will continue throughout the next decade or longer, and that significant efforts will be made to reduce human exposure to these substances from food. This article discusses how these types of food contaminants enter the food supply, the types of food items in which they are most likely to occur, and the potential toxicological consequences resulting from exposure to these contaminants.

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