News Archive 2013

Testing services - Chemistry: Dioxins, Furans and PCBs

Food analysis:

In recent years, problems related to the harmful effects of dioxins on humans and the environment has prompted growing concern worldwide. Silliker possesses over 10 years of experience in dioxin and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) testing in foodstuffs and can safety and integrity of your products in accordance with regulatory standards.

Dioxins is a name commonly given to a class of chlorinated compounds identified as PCDDs (Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins) and PCDFs (Polychlorodibenzofurans). These compounds, together with dioxin-like Polychlorinated biphenyl's (PCBs) and furans, persist in the environment, accumulate in the food chain and can cause a host of adverse health effects in humans. The structure of these compounds affect their degree of toxicity (in particular, the 2,3,7,8-TCDD or TCDD is shown to be a teratogenic and carcinogenic pollutant.

Article 5 of the Commission Regulation EU No 1881/2006 and its amendment has established maximum residue levels for 17 of these compounds, as well as the sum of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs, each with a specific degree of toxicity.

Dioxin-like PCBs are polychlorinated biphenyls and behave in the same way as dioxins and furans in terms of properties and toxicity equivalent factor. There are 12 compounds, which are determined and reported in the same way as dioxins and furans. Non dioxin-like are also polychlorinated biphenyls (NDL PCBs) and 6 of the indicators are regulated. The physical/chemical characteristics of these three groups are similar. They are resistant to biological degradation are highly lipophilic and accumulate especially in food matrices of animal origin.

Silliker Offer

Silliker offers comprehensive analytical packages in compliance with the European Regulation No 1881/2006, applying official EPA methods by means of high-resolution gas chromatography/high resolution mass spectrometry HRGC/HRMS to determine PCDDs/PCDFs, furans and PCBs in food and feed matrices. Extensive packages for environmental matrices are available on request.

Analytical results of the different compounds are expressed in toxic equivalents of TCDD (TEQ units or TE) through the use of appropriate analytical-toxicological conversion factors (I-TEF or WHO-TEF or OMS-TEF).

With a broad understanding of specific food production processes and a highly skilled staff, Silliker is your trusted partner for dioxins, furans & PCBs analysis.

Environmental analysis:

Environmental exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) continues to be a problem worldwide. Central to these concerns is the management of chemical substances that persist and accumulate in the environment and present a risk of adverse effects to human health and to the environment.

Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to advancing global public health by delivering a wide range of scientific, technical and analytical services to industry for environmental quality and safety controls, thus preventing risk and protecting public health.

Detecting and analysing PCBs, dioxins and furans, listed as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are part of Mérieux NutriSciences' comprehensive offer to support industrial companies and governmental authorities worldwide.

Our customer service department can partner with your Quality Managers, helping you during the monitoring and reclamation of polluted sites, support you during the evaluation of production waste processes and provide up to date regulatory information to define a complete analytical plan in compliance with the European Regulation (EC) No 850/2004.

Our expertise is offered by Chelab Silliker, a Mérieux NutriSciences company, and covers all environmental matrices: water, soil and fertilizers, industrial wastes, air and stack emissions, building material and petrochemical products.

Technical information

Chelab Silliker applies official methods (EPA and UNI) by means of high resolution gas chromatograph/ high resolution mass spectrometer HRGC/HRMS to determine semi volatile compounds such as PCDD/PCDF and PCBs.

The laboratory operates in compliance with UNI EN ISO 14001:2004 for the following activities: sampling services and environmental analysis (chemical, physical and microbiological analysis), research and technical-scientific assistance for industry, agriculture and environment.

Swift Silliker can courier samples to Italy on your behalf.

For further information contact Megan Smith on +27 21 683 8436
or email Megan at


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