WHO Collaborating Centre on Chemical Food Safety

RIVM supports the WHO with the GEMS/Food programme. This Global Environment Monitoring System - Food Contamination Monitoring and Assessment Programme - collects data and develops advice for governments, organisations and Codex Comitees with regard to levels of contaminants in food, trends therein, contribution to the total human exposure and relevance for public health and trade.


WHO Collaborating Centre Chemical Food Safety was re-designated to RIVM in June 2017 for a period of 4 years. RIVM holds long lasting expertise to perform, among others, a number of tasks in the field of chemical food safety and advises various clients. These clients include the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), Ministry of Economic affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb), the Veterinary Medicinal Products Unit (BD), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), WHO and FAO.

Health risks of chemical substances

RIVM Chemical Food Safety focusses on the health risks of chemical substances such as pesticides, biocides, veterinary drugs, contaminants, food contact materials, food and feed additives and botanicals. We evaluate substances in commercial products  prior to their registration based on manufacturer’s dossiers, perform pharmacokinetic modelling, develop methods and models for use in risk assessment, develop and implement exposure models and methods to evaluate new risks (e.g. those associated with nanotechnology).

RIVM is also responsible for the coordination and execution of the Dutch Food Consumption Surveys. Data from several recent surveys are available (Young Children 2005/2006, Older adults 2010-2012, Population aged 7-69 2007-2010) to estimate nutrient intake and exposure to chemical substances. Our Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services also performs research and supporting activities to enhance harmonisation of food consumption surveys across Europe. In addition, RIVM hosts the KAP database which contains concentration data on contaminants in food.


WHO Collaborating Centre on Chemical Food Safety is coordinated by Dr Bernadette Ossendorp, head of the department of Food Safety and Anton Rietveld, senior scientist department of Food Safety. RIVM staff involved in the activities of the WHO Collaborating Centre are based in the Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services (head: Prof. Jantine Schuit).


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