Food-related analyses

The expertise and services of ILVO’s labs are available to members of the entire food production chain, from primary production to the food processing industry. Several of our lab analyses are BELAC-accredited.

Chemical food safety

ILVO analyzes the presence of residues of veterinary medicines (e.g. antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, anthelmintics, anti-inflammatories, steroid hormones, ß-agonists,…) and contaminants (e.g. toxins) by means of screening methods (microbiological, immunological and receptor tests) and/or chromatographic methods (LC-MS/MS, LC-fluorescence).

More about chemical food safety

Screening :

(+32 9 272 30 11)

(+32 9 272 30 12)

(+32 9 272 28 19)

Chromatography :

(+32 9 272 30 32)

(+32 9 272 30 24)

Microbiological food safety

ILVO carries out analyzes of microbiological indicators for spoilage, hygiene indicators and pathogenic and toxin-producing bacteria (pathogens). Most of these analyzes are performed on all food and environmental samples using mainly ISO methods.

More about microbiological food safety

Koen De Reu
+32 9 272 30 43
Product composition, authenticity and quality

ILVO can determine the amount of moisture (dry matter), fat, protein and other composition components such as sugars, fatty acids, minerals, etc. in foodstuffs. ILVO also has the experience to optimize recipes. ILVO also performs authenticity analyzes such as e.g. determination of animal species general or specific (e.g. chicken, turkey, beef, pig, etc.) based on PCR.

The quality determination of food products comprises various components: heating parameters (HMF, furosin, etc), enzyme activity (lipolysis, proteolysis, ...) and physical properties. The latter can be measured using various parameters, such as Brix (refractometer), particle size distribution (laser diffraction), density (DX/densimeter), rheology (rheometer), physical stability (turbiscan), hardness/texture/TPA (texture meter) and color (reflection/transmission).

More about Composition, Authenticity, Quality

Product composition:

(+32 9 272 30 18)

(+32 9 272 30 50)

(+32 9 272 28 41) (qPCR species identificatie/bepaling)


(+32 9 272 30 50)

(+32 9 272 28 41) (qPCR species identificatie/bepaling)

Physical characteristics:

(+32 9 272 30 50)

Quality honeyDetermination of intrinsic honey quality parameters: moisture content, HMF, diastase number, invertase, electrical conductivity, specific rotation, sugar
(+32 9 272 30 11)
Taste and aroma research

In the standardized taste lab of the Food Pilot/ILVO, trained inspectors can objectively detect and describe small taste differences. Chemical analysis using GC-MS allows to identify the aroma components and to gain in-depth insight into flavor structure and flavor deviation of products.

More about flavor and odor research

Taste lab:

(+32 9 272 30 50)

Chemical aroma determination:

(+32 9 272 30 64)

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) including GMMs

ILVO analyzes food and feed samples for the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), consisting of (1) screening, (2) identification of GMO events and (3) quantification of the relative content of GMO event per ingredient. Analysis for GMMs based on screening markers (pUB110, AMR genes) or event-specific markers (GM Bacillus, alpha amylase 1/2, protease) is also in the scope of accreditation.

More about GMO analyses

(+32 9 272 28 41)
Food allergens

ILVO can detect food allergens of vegetable (e.g. soy, nuts, mustard, etc.) and animal origin (e.g. milk, eggs, fish & shellfish, etc.) in all kinds of samples based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction), ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and/or LC-MS/MS.

More about allergens analyses

(+32 9 272 28 41)


(+32 9 272 30 64)

In vitro screening and gastrointestinal simulationsThis includes the determination of antibacterial activity (Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) and Minimum Bactericidal Concentration (MBC)) of components or organisms in vitro (plate method) and in gastrointestinal simulations (fermentor) for additive companies in feed and nutrition.

More about In vitro screening and gastrointestinal simulations
(+32 9 272 30 89)
Shelf-life studyThe Food Pilot has a great deal of expertise and infrastructure to answer questions from food companies about the shelf life of their products: production lines for testing on a semi-industrial scale, infrastructure for packaging and storage under controlled conditions, labs for analysis of the microbiological , the (bio)chemical, the physical and the sensory quality are available. Challenge tests can also be performed with pathogenic germs and spoilage organisms.

(+32 9 272 30 28)
Cleaning and desinfection

ILVO prospects your site on site, takes samples, measures the microbial load and formulates guidelines for improving the cleaning and disinfection procedure. Guidance in drawing up a sampling plan and controlling environmental pathogens in the food industry is also a current activity. This also includes the characterization of strains in order to identify persistent contaminations.

In addition, the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfection and other hygiene products is also tested in laboratory, pilot and practical conditions.

For optimization of your site:

(+32 9 272 30 43)

For resource efficiency determination (e.g. for registration):

(+32 9 272 30 11)

(+32 9 272 30 43)

Activities for quality assurance

A ring trial makes it possible to independently measure the quality of analyses. Ring trials are inter-laboratory studies where results of analyses from different analysts, institutes and/or machines are mutually statistically compared. Participation in ring trials allows participants to evaluate aspects such as precision, repeatability, and reproducibility, as well as the correctness of their results. In addition, participants get insight into the stability of their analytical results over time by identifying trends. Systematic deviations of a laboratory can be detected either between methods or between equipment.

In addition a laboratory can compare its performance with these of other laboratories. When the results are good, the company can use the ring trial to demonstrate its expertise for performing certain analyses. The results can also be used to optimize the quality control system.

ILVO often organizes ring trials, most of which focus on physical-chemical analyses. ILVO demonstrates the good organization of these ring trials by working according to norm ISO 17043.

Ring trials

Hadewig Werbrouck; +32 9 272 30 18

Food analyses - Practical


The duration of the analyses is determined in consultation with the customer.


Requesting analyses

Analyses are done on a first-come, first-served basis. If analyses are requested ahead of time, they get priority. The request for analysis can be made with the supervisor of the lab in question.

Analyses requested in advance are given priority. The request will be sent to the respective laboratory managers. For a quick start and flow of the analysis procedure we ask customers to add the following sample information:

  • The matrix, the sample identification and the parameter(s) to be analysed
  • Contact person with address to whom the test report should be sent afterwards
  • The billing address if it is different from the address for reporting
  • Language of the test report
  • The telephone number and e-mail address of the contact person

Analytical application form (DOC) EN / Analyseaanvraag (DOC) FR

Sampling and practical matters

  • Representative sampling is not the responsibility of the laboratory, but rather the customer or sampler.
  • Adequate packaging of the delivered sample and the sample transport is also the responsibility of the customer. The packaging should be firmly and properly. If the sample is not firmly packaged, the sample may either become contaminated or can contaminate other samples.
  • The period between sampling, shipping and receipt should be minimal. The samples
    must be kept under appropriate conditions and sent so that the integrity of the sample is
    preserved. This period and storage conditions are also the responsibility of the customer.
  • The sample size should be sufficient and agreed with the relevant laboratory manager.

Delivery and acceptance of samples

Delivery of the samples take place preferably between 8h and 12h15 or between 13h and 17h. The customer contacts the receptionist at ILVO-T&V, Brusselsesteenweg 370 9090 Melle, and delivers the samples. Note the name of the laboratory manager for which the samples are intended. The samples intended for GMO analysis and food allergens are delivered to the following address: ILVO-T&V, Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 115, 9820 Merelbeke.
For samples that can only be delivered outside the normal opening hours, please contact the laboratory manager.

Reporting of analysis results

Reporting is done by e-mail. Upon request of the customer, results can be reported differently. If requested, the report can be drafted in another language (French or English).

Costs of analysis and invoicing of services

The costs of the analyses or research can be obtained upon request of the respective laboratory managers. These costs are in line with the determination of the rates for the services performed by ILVO. For analysis packages discounts can be applied.
The invoice is also sent by e-mail.


Complaints regarding the service, analysis results, etc. can be reported by phone, mail or post to the laboratory managers. All customer complaints will be handled appropriately with and reported to the head of ILVO-T&V.