Since the mid-1980s, intensive animal breeding for food production has led to a substantial increase in the use of veterinary drugs for therapeutic or disease preventive reasons. This may result in an increased incidence of residues of compounds which still exert toxicological activity. Moreover, the quality of animal derived foods is threatened by the formation and occurence of mycotoxins and by the presence of environmental contaminants. Food contamination has become a worldwide issues of concern. The large number of compounds involved, sometimes simultaneously present in food products, has attracted scientific attention with respect to the development of rapid analytical and toxicological test methods in order to characterize risks for the consumer of contaminated foods. To this end, an International Teleconference entitled "Residues of Veterinary Drugs and Mycotoxins in Animal Products: New Methods for Risk Assessment and Quality Control" was set up on the Internet. The idea behind this event was to communicate on a worldwide scale via electronic mail in recent scientific progress in the area of risk assessment and quality control of food contaminants. Invited scientists from different countries have brough review papers and discussion items on actual problems on food safety assessment in the electronic system. Subscribers to the conference via the LISTSERV MEATQUAL had the opportunity to react on these papers by E-mail, while also submission of free communications was possible. This work contains the papers discussed during the Conference as well as the discussion contributions.
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