Surveillance of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (pcbs) in food commercialized in Barcelona, Spain

M. Fontcuberta, J. F. Arqués, J. R. Villalbí, M. Martínez, E. Serrahima, F. Centrich, M. Ábalos, E. Abad, J. Duran, C. Casas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study explored the potential use of seven congeners of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs-7) as indicator compounds for the presence of dioxins and PCBs in food samples, as part of the routine surveillance programme of a public health agency. Samples of 24 foodstuffs with high fat content were collected (ten fresh fish, six dairy products, five meat and three eggs). Duplicate analyses were performed. A research laboratory tested samples for seven polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDDs), ten dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and twelve dioxin-like PCBs, with limits of detection in the range of ng kg-1 (ppt). The public health services official control laboratory tested samples for PCBs-7, with a limit of quantification of 5 mgkg_1 (ppb). The research laboratory detected the presence of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in all samples; fish samples had the highest levels (0.04-10.3 pg WHO-TEQ g-1). The public health service official control laboratory detected PCBs-7 only in five samples, which were all fish. Comparing the results in the two laboratories there seems to be an association between the detection of PCB-7 and the presence of higher levels of PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs. The use of PCB-7 as an indicator compound may be a practical surveillance strategy for those foodstuffs with higher concentrations of dioxin-like congeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants: Part B Surveillance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal products - meat
  • Cheese
  • Chromatography - gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS)
  • Dioxins - toxic equivalent quantities (TEQs)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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