Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit

The research conducted by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira's Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit contributes to the management of chemical hazards and nutritional factors in the food supply chain.

The Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit maintains extensive research cooperation with other sectoral research institutions, universities and higher education establishments through a variety of research projects. The Research Unit actively collaborates with several universities, providing graduate students with the opportunity to conduct doctoral research.

Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit projects

The Research Unit undertakes research primarily with external funding. Financers include the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, as well as EU's research programmes.

The research unit has five major research projects under way in 2014. Two of the projects, soon to be completed, are related to food safety and the toxicity, metabolism and occurrence of mycotoxins.

In particular, the Research Unit's largest research project is titled: 'The application of modern molecular methods to the study of the mechanisms of commonly occurring Fusarium avenaceum mycotoxins'. The other project related to mycotoxins is 'Improved analytical tools for the detection of harmful food components'.

In addition, a nutrition-related Total Diet Study project aims to harmonise the methods for collecting information on food-based exposure, while the Fineli® project will update the Finnish Food Composition Database.

Finally, the neonicotinoids project studies the effect of the use of these substances on bees and other pollinators in the protection of oleiferous plants in Finland.

The outside world and its developments are also reflected in the activities of the Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit. New research areas related to social changes include the authenticity of food and fraud issues.

In the long term, global warming occurring as a result of climate change may pose new challenges to the research and analytics related to food safety, for example in the study of the occurrence of new mycotoxins in cereal grains and their analysis. The Research Unit has acquired solid expertise and experience in mycotoxin research over a number of years.

In the short term, however, our challenges are more often related to everyday life than to scientific research. For example, in the event of a food scandal, Evira is able to respond to the situation quickly by providing or creating the necessary analytical methods.

Find out more about the on-going research projects at the Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit in the section Chemical food safety

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