Fortunately, the intentional contamination of food or water supplies out of criminal or terroristic motivation is a rather rare event. However, in the face of asymmetric warfare and as the consequences of such an event would be severe, food defence as a necessary supplement to food safety is gaining increased attention. While some progress has been made in developing non-target detection devices, the contamination of food or water supplies using readily available rodenticides may still be revealed only by complex analytical techniques. The presented study therefore aimed to develop a quick and easy screening method for the detection of sixteen globally common rodenticides in foodstuffs. Robust operation with limited personnel and analytical resources were one benchmark to be met by the method, which uses a slightly modified QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, safe) protocol for dispersive solid-phase extraction and subsequent ion-pair chromatography with diode-array and fluorescence detection. Quantification limits were as low as 5 µg/kg with satisfying bias (recovery) and repeatability rates of 77 to 117% and 1.8 to 17.1%, respectively. The developed method provides reliable and robust detection of these deadly poisons at toxic concentrations, which was demonstrated impressively in an improvised assault scenario.

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