The Food Safety Laboratory provides scientific expertise to help in public decision-making which is both general, for the safety of foodstuffs, and more specific, for certain processing industries.
The Laboratory's work is focussed on biological hazards (bacteria, viruses, parasites) and chemical hazards (toxins, metals, pesticides, organic pollutants, histamine) found or likely to be found in foods, especially during the distribution and consumption stages:
- it develops knowledge on the identification of hazards found in foods,
- it develops methods for detecting, characterising and measuring them,
- it analyses their causes and development factors,
- it helps monitor them, particularly to report the emergence or re-emergence of certain organisms and compounds,
- it helps standardise and draft regulations for specific methods and criteria governing these hazards,
- it contributes to the assessment of the related risks by contributing to quantitative risk analyses, and by providing data on the prevalence of a biological hazard or the occurrence of a chemical hazard,
- it examines how practices and processes influence the expression of food hazards and specifically focuses on the effectiveness of control measures undertaken throughout a food's lifetime (from the farm to the fork) and quality indicators related to hygiene.
The laboratory also performs analyses for health authorities and professionals in relation to fishery products (fish, shellfish, crustaceans) in Boulogne-sur-Mer and in relation to all types of foodstuffs in Maisons-Alfort in the framework of the Central Laboratory for Veterinary Services which carries out official analyses for the Directions départementales de la protection des populations (DDPP) in the Paris region (départements 75, 91, 92, 93 and 94).
It hosts the national "Identypath" technology platform for the identification and typing of pathogens using high- and medium-throughput PCR.