Analytic support is provided to Spain’s General State Administration, which
includes the General Court of Justice and the National Health System.It is
provided on a permanent basis and is a result of legal and administrative
processes. Such activity requires many tests to be carried out that are
significant for the health sector due to possible contamination or adulteration
of foods (mainly in food samples sent for pre-trial proceedings).
The study of the samples collected during the trial proceedings for crimes
against Public Health due to food fraud,mainly the illegal fattening of
slaughter livestock,is highly complex and difficult on an analytical level. Due
to high demand,the response time is rationalised in these samples.
Since 23 July 1999, the National Food Centre is the Accredited Test
Laboratory (with nº 178 / LE 397) according to the requirements of Standard EN
ISO/IEC 17025.It was appointed by the National Accreditation Entity (ENAC) with
an initial scope of 65 tests.The majority of the Centre’s technical personnel
is thus involved. Since then, the CNA has enjoyed Accreditation for
Microbiological and Physical-Chemical Tests on Food Products. This has
therefore enabled an independent entity to confirm the reliability of the
Centre’s analytical procedures.
Applied Research tasks in the field of food analysis have mainly been geared
towards improving upon traditional methods of analysis, providing new methods
that are capable of dealing with food crises or updating analytical activity
fields as a result of food research in the scientific world.
As for food controls, the National Food Centre also carries out:
- Control of non-declared irradiation of foods.
- Study of poisoning and food infections
(salmonellosis,botulism,trichinellosis,etc.) with new diagnosis techniques
(PCR). Supporting the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs and the
Autonomous Communities in determining whether water is suitable for public
- Research of protozoa in water and food products of plant origin given that
they present a potential hazard. Detection of Giardia lamblia and
Cryptosporidium spp. is a priority.
- Identification of animal species in heat-treated meat products through the
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test with the aim of making the
identification of genetically similar animal species easier.
- Detection of transgenic plant material (p-35S) using PCR.
- Detection of transgenic plant material (t-NOS) using PCR.
- Detection of soya (Lectin gene) using Nested-PCR.
- Identification of transgenic Roundup Ready soya (CP4 epsps gene) using
- Detection of maize (Invertase gene) using PCR.
- Detection of transgenic maize (cry1A (b) gene) using Nested-PCR.
- Identification of transgenic maize Bt176 (specific construct CDPK-cry 1A
(b)) using PCR.
- Identification of transgenic maize Bt11 (specific construct IVS6-cry1A (b))
- Identification of transgenic maize Bt11 (specific construct 35S-IVS2-pat)
- Identification of transgenic maize MON 810 (specific construct Hsp70-cry1A
(b)) using PCR.
- Identification of transgenic maize T25 (specific construct 35S-pat) using
- Quantification of soya and transgenic maize, based on specific constructs,
using quantitative PCR in real time of Roundup Ready Soya (cp4-epsps), Maize
Bt176 (PEPC-cry1A (b)) and Maize Bt11 (IVS2-pat).
- Identification of transgenic maize NK603 (based on an event-specific
sequence) using PCR.
- Quantification of transgenic maize MON810 (based on specific construct
35S-Hsp70) using quantitative PCR in real time.
- Control of biogenic amines in fish:anchovies, tuna,etc.
- Control of Mycotoxins and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in food.
- Analytical Control of the presence and determination of the contents of
allergens in foods (gluten in foods for celiac people); along with the
design,development and implementation of new analytical methodologies (Western
blot,PCR and real-time PCR,ELISA-R5).
- Analytical control of Sudan I,II,III,IV,Sudan orange G,Sudan red 7 B and
bixin using HPLC-DAD, in pepper samples (Capsicum annuum).
- The study of persistent organic compounds: polychlorodibenzodioxines
(dioxins or PCDD), polychlorodibenzofurans (PCDF) and polychlorobiphenyls
(PCB) in foods.
- The study of the concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic
contaminants in different types of food, as well as the study of iron, copper,
magnesium and selenium nutrients, amongst others.
- Systematic in vitro studies on food and food products with the aim of
evaluating,in a short space of time,their potential intake risk. Such studies
are carried out using cytotoxicity tests (cell viability, mitochondrial
activity, cell multiplication, enzymatic activity, etc.)and genotoxicity tests
in bacteria (mutagenicity).
- Implementation of the reverse phase latex agglutination method (RPLA) to
the detection of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxins type A and
Bacillus cereus in foods.
- Determination of benzene in oil and soft drinks.