Contaminants in food and feed

FERA – The Food and Environment Research Agency

The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) was formed in April 2009 following the merger of the Central Science Laboratory (CSL) with three other parts of the UK department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra):

  • Plant Health Division (including Bee Health and the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate)
  • Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division, and
  • UK Government Decontamination Service.

FERA an Executive Agency of Defra and its purpose is to support and develop a sustainable food chain, a healthy natural environment, and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks. FERA employs over 500 scientists and 150 plant and bee inspectors, runs over 600 research projects per annum, and provides services to customers in over 100 countries. It is one of the best-equipped facilities of its kind in Europe and has extensive experience in analytical research in the food and agriculture areas (at both National and EU levels). FERA represents the UK on a number of key European and International Committees relating to methods of analysis and regulatory issues (e.g. EFSA, CEN, CODEX,AOAC). FERA’s inter-disciplinary teams in the areas of pesticides, mycotoxins and veterinary medicines have considerable (>20 years) experience in the development and validation of screening and confirmatory methods for chemical contaminants in food.


FERA is coordinator of the FP6 project, TRACE. He is participant in FP5 projects DONCALIBRANT, ZONMAIZE and FP6 project BioCop.

The FERA expertise is the development and validation of screening and confirmatory methods for the detection of contaminants in food and feed, of rapid detection methods based on immuno-and receptor binding assays.

FERA is National Reference Laboratory for pesticides in (a) fruit and vegetables, (b) cereals and animal feedingstuffs and (c) single residue methods (882/2004/EC), and veterinary drugs (96/23/EC).


WP2b : Work package leader for WP2b antibiotics. Development and optimization of assay components for malachite green dipstick

WP1c, 2a, 4a : Support via (i) provision of LC-MS/MS reference data (ii) evaluation/optimisation of the developed assays and (iii) participation in small-scale inter-laboratory comparisons.


Contact :

Mr Matthew Sharman

Sand Hutton
UK-YO41 1LZ York
Email : matthew.sharman@fera.gsi.gov.uk
Web site : http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk

Staff :

Mr Matthew Sharman :

Principle Scientist leading R&D on methods to detect pesticides and veterinary drug residues. Over 23 years experience using analytical chemistry to solve food authenticity and food safety issues.

CONffIDENCE: He is involved in the WP1c and WP2a.

Mrs Sara Stead (BSc.):

Senior Researcher responsible for the development of bioassays relating to residues from pesticides, mycotoxins and veterinary drug residues.

CONffIDENCE: She is WP2b leader.

Mr Richard Fussell :

Senior Researcher responsible for developing analytical methods for determining pesticides residues. 29 Years experience as analytical chemist.

CONffIDENCE: He is involved in the WP1c. He is leader of the InterWP group “Primary extraction method”.

Mr Colin Crews :

Senior Researcher and Section Leader in natural toxins and processing contaminants. 35 years experience of analysis of toxins in foods using GCMS and LCMS.

CONffIDENCE: He is involved in the WP4a.

Ms Susan MacDonald :

Senior Researcher responsible for mycotoxins Research & Development and Scientific Training. 16 years experience mycotoxins analysis using HPLC and GCMS. 6 years training experience.

CONffIDENCE: She is involved in the WP4c.

Ms Marianne Caldow :

CONffIDENCE: She is involved in the WP2b.