Food Safety – Chemical Hazards

In today’s world the quality and safety of food is given much importance, as food borne illness has become a major issue faced by people globally. The food hazards may occur mainly due to presence of biological, chemical or physical objects in the food.

The immediate identification and evaluation of these hazards allows focusing on the problem areas effectively and getting a solution to control these hazards.

What are the possible chemical Hazards that can occur in food production:

The presence of a chemical in the food may not always be a hazard. The amount of the chemical used in food production determines whether it is hazardous or not. If chemicals used as per the requirement, the hazard can be averted.

The chemical hazards are categorized into three categories:

Naturally Occurring Chemicals:

These chemicals are derived from plants or animals. Though they are biological in origin, they are categorized as chemical hazard.

For Example: Mycotoxin (e.g.,aflatoxin), Scombrotoxin, Ciguatoxin and Shellfish toxins

Intentionally added Chemicals:

fh2Chemicals added intentionally in food production, which are safe and used as per the required levels, but can be dangerous if used in excess.

For Example: Food Additives: Direct, Preservatives (e.g., nitrite and sulfating agents), Nutritional additives (e.g., niacin), Color additives

Unintentional or incidentally added Chemicals:


Chemicals become part of a food sometimes without being intentionally added. They might be already a food ingredient when received. Packaging material or the product itself can be a source of incidental chemicals, such as sanitizers or ink.

For Example: Toxic elements and compounds (e.g., lead, zinc, arsenic, mercury, cyanide), Secondary direct and indirect, Plant chemicals (e.g., lubricants, cleaning compounds, sanitizers, paint)


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