Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)

Is a technique for determining the concentration of a particular metal element in a sample.  The technique can be used to analyze the concentration of over 70 different metals in a solution. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information. DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, or a code, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) Differential scanning calorimetry is a thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference are measured as a function of temperature.

Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)

A biochemical technique used to detect the presence of an antibody or antigen in
a sample.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

Is an agency of the European Union that provides independent scientific advice and communication on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain.  The Authority’s work covers all matters with a direct or indirect impact on food and feed safety, including animal health and welfare, plant protection, plant health and nutrition.

Food and Drink Administration (FDA)

Is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for regulating and supervising the safety of foods, dietary supplements, drugs, vaccines, biological medical products, blood products, medical devices, radiation-emitting devices, veterinary products, and cosmetics.

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

Is a non-ministerial government department, responsible for protecting public health in relation to food throughout the United Kingdom and is led by an appointed board that is intended to act in the public interest

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR)

Is a measurement technique whereby spectra are collected based on measurements of the temporal coherence of a radiative source, using time-domain measurements of the electromagnetic radiation or other type of radiation.

Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS)

Is a method that combines the features of gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify different substances within a test sample.


Refers to the process of determining the genotype of an individual by the use of biological assays.

Good Clinical Practice (GCP)

An international quality standard that is provided by the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH), an international body that defines standards, which governments can transpose into regulations for clinical trials involving human subjects. 

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

Is a term that is recognized worldwide for the control and management of manufacturing and quality control testing of foods, pharmaceutical products, and medical devices

Glycaemic Index (GI)

GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates that break down rapidly during digestion releasing glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

Is a systematic preventive approach to food and pharmaceutical safety that addresses physical, chemical, and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection.

High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

Is a form of column chromatography used frequently in biochemistry and analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify compounds.

Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

Is a type of mass spectrometry that is highly sensitive and capable of the determination of a range of metals and several non-metals at concentrations below one part in 1012. It is based on coupling together an inductively coupled plasma as a method of producing ions (ionization) with a mass spectrometer as a method of separating and detecting the ions. ICP-MS is also capable of


Is the process by which an item is exposed to radiation. The exposure can be
intentional, sometimes to serve a specific purpose, or it can be accidental

Karl Fischer

Is a classic titration method in analytical chemistry that uses colorimetric or
volumetric titration to determine trace amounts of water in a sample

Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS)

Is an analytical chemistry technique that combines the physical separation capabilities of liquid chromatography (or HPLC) with the mass analysis capabilities of mass spectrometry. LC-MS is a powerful technique used for many applications which has very high sensitivity and specificity. Generally its application is oriented towards the specific detection and potential identification of chemicals in the presence of other chemicals (in a complex mixture).
monitoring isotopic speciation for the ions of choice.

3-Monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD)

3-MCPD is the most common of a group of chemical contaminants known as chloropropanols.  It occurs at low levels in many foods and food ingredients as a result of processing.  It is most frequently found at high levels in many foods and ingredients as a result of processing.  It has been found in soy sauces and acid-hydrolysed vegetable protein.

Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

The UK government agency which is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

Is the name given to a physical resonance phenomenon involving the observation of specific quantum mechanical magnetic properties of an atomic nucleus in the presence of an applied, external magnetic field. Many scientific techniques exploit NMR phenomena to study molecular physics, crystals and non-crystalline materials through NMR spectroscopy.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB)

PCBs are a class of organic compounds with 1 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl which is a molecule composed of two benzene rings each containing six carbon atoms.  PCBs are used as dielectric fluids in transformers and capacitors, coolants, lubricants, stabilising additives in flexible PVC coatings of electrical wiring and electronic components pesticide extenders, cutting oils, flame retardants, sealants, adhesives etc.

Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH)

PAHs are chemical compounds that consist of fused aromatic rings and do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents.  PAH occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass).  As a pollutant, they are of concern because some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic.  PAHs are also found in cooked foods, such as grilled meats.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

A technique widely used in molecular biology.  It derives its name from one of its key components, a DNA polymerase used to amplify a piece of DNA.  As PCR progresses, the DNA generated is used as a template for replication.  It is possible to amplify a single piece of DNA generating many copies.

Qualified Person (QP)

Qualified Person (QP) is a technical term used in European Union pharmaceutical regulation (Directive 2001/83/EC for Medicinal products for human use). The regulations specify that no batch of medicinal product can be released for sale or supply prior to certification by a QP that the batch is in accordance with the relevant requirements.


The study of the flow of matter:  mainly liquids but also soft solids or solids under conditions in which they flow rather than deform elastically.  It applies to substances which have a complex structure including suspensions, polymers, many foods and other biological materials.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

Is a type of electron microscope that images the sample surface by scanning it with a high-energy beam of electrons in a raster scan pattern. The electrons interact with the atoms that make up the sample producing signals that contain information about the sample's surface topography, composition and other properties such as electrical conductivity.


The SPF of a sunscreen is a laboratory measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen — the higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen offers against UV-B (the ultraviolet radiation that causes sunburn). The SPF indicates the time a person with sunscreen applied can be exposed to sunlight before getting sunburn relative to the time a person without sunscreen can be exposed.

United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)

UKAS is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. 


Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than x-rays.  It is so named because the spectrum consists of electromagnetic waves with frequencies higher than those that humans identify as the color violet.  UV light is found in sunlight and is emitted by electric arcsand specialized lights such as black lights. As an ionizing radiation it can cause chemical reactions, and causes many substances to glow or fluoresce. Most people are aware of the effects of UV through the painful condition of sunburn, but the UV spectrum has many other effects, both beneficial and damaging, on human health.