Food, chemicals and risk analysis

  • D. R. Tennant


We all consume many thousands of different chemicals in our food every day. Most of these chemicals are natural constituents of the food we eat. Some are present as a result of contamination from the environment, some arise during production, processing and preparation, and some are intentionally added to food. All chemicals have one characteristic in common: the potential to cause toxicological harm to consumers. Given the huge numbers of chemicals present, it is clear that the vast majority cannot be causing any actual harm; indeed, many are known to confer benefits. The purpose of risk analysis is to identify those chemicals in food which might cause harm, to analyse the potential consequences, to consider any possible benefits and to decide on any action necessary to protect consumers, whilst not unnecessarily impeding trade.


Risk Analysis Risk Communication Food Chemical Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Potential Adverse Health Effect 
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Further reading

  1. Coultate, T. (1989) Food: The Chemistry of its Components, 2nd edn. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Coultate, T. and Davies, J. (1994) Food: The Definitive Guide. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Rodericks, J.D. (1992) Calculated Risks (The Toxicity and Human Health Effects of Chemicals in Our Environment). Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Royal Society Study Group (1992) Risk, Analysis, Perception, Management. The Royal Society, London.Google Scholar
  5. The British Medical Association (1987) Living with Risk. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. R. Tennant

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