Chemistry research in FDA’s human foods program focuses on developing, validating, and refining regulatory methods that can be used to help ensure that the U.S. food supply is safe and items are what they are purported to be. These methods give us the ability to detect, identify, and quantify chemical constituents and contaminants in foods and dietary supplements, and to evaluate industry’s compliance with nutrition and ingredient labeling requirements. New methods are routinely shared publicly so both FDA and non-FDA labs can integrate them into food safety and nutrition programs as needed. Our scientists conduct research on: allergens; pesticides; environmental and industrial contaminants; natural toxins; process induced contaminants; species identification; food composition; nutrients; and toxic elements, including radionuclides. These analyses are used to inform the FDA human foods program’s regulatory, compliance, and enforcement actions, as well as policy decisions.
Our chemistry researchers also conduct experiments to: evaluate the effectiveness of different approaches for preventing hazardous chemical contaminants from forming during food processing; explore ways to prevent the transfer of allergens, chemical contaminants, and toxins into foods; and understand how processing technologies impact nutrients and other food constituents.