Product News: Thermo Fisher Scientific Solutions Successfully Identify Dioxins in Pork Products

12 Jan 2009

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, announced that its high-resolution gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) solutions are suitable for dioxin analysis in foods. In light of public concern over the safety of food, particularly as a result of the Irish pork contamination, government agencies and food processors are selecting instruments that can accurately identify and contain the spread of dioxins in the global food supply.

On December 6 2008, the Irish Government recalled all pork products made in the Republic of Ireland after the discovery of dioxins in slaughtered pigs. This was followed by an announcement from the Chinese government on December 9 banning all imports of pork from Ireland after some of the meat was found to be contaminated with elevated levels of the chemicals. Dioxins are a group of chemicals formed during combustion processes, such as waste incineration and are known to increase the likelihood of cancer with long term exposure.

The European Commission and the US EPA have set maximum levels for dioxins in food. Tests on some of the Irish pork products showed that they contained up to 200 times more dioxins than the recognized safety limit. The directives require limits of quantitation (LOQ) to be 80% lower than the lowest reported level in the US EPA Method 1613 Rev.B [3-7]. This requires more demanding detection limits, selectivity and sensitivity to confirm their presence along with tools that manage data and can detect problems earlier in the process.

The Thermo Scientific DFS High Resolution GC/MS (HRGC/HRMS system) achieves these lower levels of detection required with dioxins. Even difficult sample types with heavy matrix effects can be successfully analyzed. In addition, the Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantum GC can be employed to screen for dioxins. By identifying foods that do not contain dioxins, the number of samples that must be analyzed using HRGC/HRMS is reduced, significantly lowering the cost for laboratories to conduct these analyses.

“Thermo Fisher Scientific is dedicated to making the world a healthier, cleaner and safer place,” comments Dr. Stuart Cram, who is leading the Food Safety Program within Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Our capabilities in dioxin analysis and detection exemplify the technological capabilities of Thermo Fisher Scientific, while our commitment to food safety in terms of support and consulting will enable scientists to address these contamination issues as they occur”.

The comprehensive Thermo Scientific offering includes a wide range of sample collection, sample preparation, instrumentation and data management products focused on the needs of Food Safety. In addition, a broad portfolio of chemicals, consumables and equipment and supply chain services are available through the Fisher Scientific brand.

For the latest information about Thermo Fisher Scientific solutions and the wide range of applications for food safety please visit the company website.