“It is a fundamental point that we as consumers can trust that the food we eat will not harm us or threaten our health. In order to ensure the safety of food products, it is therefore essential to have both institutional and laboratory capacities to ensure that Iceland has the necessary infrastructure to safeguard food safety and protect consumer interests in the increasingly globalized food market” says Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir, Research Group Leader of Public Health & Food Safety at Matís.
“Food legislation in Iceland is mostly the same as elsewhere in Europe. This means that Icelandic food businesses must ensure that their food products are safe and the competent authorities must implement food safety measures according to international standard in order to ensure consumer protection,” says Helga.
Various things can affect the wholesomeness and safety of food products. In addition to disease-causing microbes (pathogens) that people can ingest with food, food products can also contain undesirable chemical substances that can affect our health over the long run for example persistent organic pollutants like dioxin and PCB.
In the area of food safety Matís is an official laboratory responsible for analysing the majority of known food pathogens and contaminants that are likely to occur in Iceland and most of the analytical procedures used for this purpose are accredited according to ISO 17025.
Further, Matís has been nominated by the Ministry of Industries and Innovation in Iceland as National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Iceland in 11 areas related to analysis of food & feed.
“Our goal is to expand our expertise in response to emerging threats related to food safety and therefore Matís conducts cutting edge research into chemicals, microbes and microplastics in food, feed and the environment,” says Helga.