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.

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

Chemical food safety

Analyses for the presence of residues of veterinary drugs (e.g. antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, anthelmintics, anti-inflammatories, etc.) and contaminants (e.g. mycotoxins) are performed by means of screening methods (microbiological, immunological and receptor tests) and/or chromatographic methods (liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrography (LC-MS/MS), liquid chromatography – fluoresence (LC-fluorescence), gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS)). These analyses are done primarily in foodstuffs of animal origin.

More about chemical food safety

Screening: Wim Reybroeck

+32 9 272 30 11

Sigrid Ooghe

+32 9 272 30 12


Els Daeseleire

+32 9 272 30 32

Microbiological food safety

Analyses of microbiological food safety are performed to detect spoilage organisms, hygiene-indicators, pathogenic and toxin-producing bacteria.

More about microbiological food safety

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

Measurement of fat, proteins and other constituents can be done either alone or in tandem with improvements to the recipe.

An optimized recipe can lead to a reduction in additives and preservatives, fat, sugar, and salt. An optimized production process can also help to retain health-promoting components such as vitamins, antioxidants, etc.

More about Composition, Authenticity, Quality

Product composition: Hadewig Werbrouck+32 9 272 30 18 en Barbara Duquenne

Authenticity: Barbara Duquenne +32 9 272 30 50

Quality honeyWim Reybroeck +32 9 272 30 11
Flavor and odor research

Taste, mouthfeel and texture of food products are evaluated by comparative tests or triangle tests.

More about flavor and odor research

Smaaklabo: Barbara Duquenne
+32 9 272 30 50

Chemische aromabepaling: Christof Van Poucke +32 9 272 30 64


Food and feed samples are analysed for the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs "screening"), kind/type of GMOs ("identification") as well as the relative content of the GMOs events per ingredient ("quantification").

More about GMO analyses

Isabel Taverniers

+32 9 272 28 41

Food allergens of plant origin (e.g. soy, nuts, mustard, etc.) and animal origin (e.g. milk, eggs, fish & shellfish, etc) can be detected in all kinds of samples. The detection of these foods is based on PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and/or ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).

More about allergens analyses

Isabel Taverniers

+32 9 272 28 41
In vitro screening and gastrointestinal simulationsTo determine antibacterial activity (Minimal Inhibitort Concentration (MIC) and the Minimal Bactericide Concentration (MBC)) of components or organisms, the Food Pilot performs tests in vitro (plating method) or in gastro-intestinal simulations (fermentor). These analyses are particularly aluable for questions about additives in food and feed.

More about In vitro screening and gastrointestinal simulations

Geertrui Rasschaert
+32 9 272 30 89
Shelf-life study

The Food Pilot has high-level expertise and a complete infrastructure to answer all of the industry’s questions about shelf-life. Using the Food Pilot production lines, new ingredients, recipes or processes can be evaluated on a semi-industrial scale. Packaging food under modified atmosphere can also be studied at the Food Pilot. After packaging, the microbiological, (bio)chemical, physical, and sensory quality is studied in the laboratories described above.

Finally, the Food Pilot has a large collection of isolates of pathogenic or spoilage organisms which can be used in challenge tests where microorganisms are deliberately inoculated into the food products.
Els Van Coillie
+32 9 272 30 28
Cleaning and desinfectionTo give advice about cleaning and disinfection, ILVO experts come to your site to take samples, measure the microbiological presence and give advice about how to improve the cleaning and disinfection procedure. In addition, the effectiveness of cleaning, disinfection, and other hygienic products can be evaluated under laboratory, pilot and field conditions. Current standards such as ISO and AFNOR are applied. This research and analyses are performed in many types of locations (food processing companies, primary sector, machine construction, etc.).For optimization on your site: Koen De Reu
+32 9 272 30 43
For efficiency determination of products
(eg. for registration): Wim Reybroeck +32 9 272 30 11
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, fax or post to the laboratory managers. All customer complaints will be handled appropriately with and reported to the head of ILVO-T&V.