To find out more about the levels of certain microbiological and chemical contaminants in food, the Agency is commissioning surveys of:
• Acrylamide in UK retail products
• Lead in cattle, sheep, free range and organic chickens, and eggs from UK farms in areas of high geochemical lead
• Environmental chemicals in composite food samples that are representative of the UK diet
• The content and pattern of ergot alkaloids and ergot sclerotia in UK cereals
• Listeria monocytogenes and other microoganisms in pre-packed ready-to-eat sliced meats from small to medium-sized businesses
• Norovirus in shellfish
Two other research projects being commissioned by the Agency are:
• To investigate whether the visual post-mortem inspection of indoor fattening pigs can be extended to outdoor fattening pigs. The aim of the research is to update meat hygiene controls to ensure they are risk-based and provide an appropriate level of protection to consumers.
• To study the effects of processing on pesticide residues in food. Research into the effects of storage time, washing processes, peeling and cooking methods has already been carried out on a small range of pesticides in apples and potatoes. This new project will consider additional pesticides in a wider range of foods.