Pesticides and Marine Biotoxins (PBM) unit of the Laboratory for Food Safety


    Maisons-Alfort site

    Head of Unit: Gwenaëlle Lavison-Bompard

    Deputy Head of Unit: Chanthadary Inthavong

    The Pesticides and Marine Biotoxins (PBM) unit carries out work in the area of pesticides and marine biotoxins. It helps assess consumer exposure to organic contaminants in foodstuffs via Total Diet Studies (TDSs) and other studies aiming to determine the prevalence of pesticides or toxins in certain food sectors.

    Reference activities

    The unit has three national reference mandates:

    • for pesticides in foodstuffs of animal origin and products high in fat;
    • for the analysis of pesticides in foodstuffs of animal and plant origin using single-residue methods;
    • for marine biotoxins.

    As part of its reference missions, the unit develops and validates analytical methods and coordinates networks of official laboratories, for which it holds training sessions. It organises proficiency tests, confirms official analyses and provides its scientific and technical expertise as requested by its supervisory ministries. Since marine biotoxins can cause acute food poisoning, the unit is asked to investigate food poisoning outbreaks.

    Expert appraisal activities

    The unit helps assess risks by contributing to the expert appraisal work of the risk assessment departments. It is involved in work to standardise analytical methods (AFNOR, CEN, ISO) and provides support to the competent authorities during discussions on EU regulations under preparation.

    Research activities

    As part of its research and reference missions, the unit works to improve knowledge on the types and levels of pesticides and marine biotoxins in food.

    In this context, the unit implements analytical methods with the following objectives:

    • the mapping of food contamination ("targeted” and “non-targeted” broad-spectrum methods);
    • the simultaneous analysis of several organic contaminants in the same class, using broad-spectrum multi-residue approaches;
    • the detection of emerging pesticides, in particular non-regulated emerging biotoxins and transformation products.