Biogenic amines are important nitrogen compounds of biological importance in vegetable, microbial and animal cells. They can be detected in both raw and processed foods. In food microbiology they have sometimes been related to spoilage and fermentation processes. Some toxicological characteristics and outbreaks of food poisoning are associated with histamine and tyramine. Secondary amines may undergo nitrosation and form nitrosamines. A better knowledge of the factors controlling their formation is necessary in order to improve the quality and safety of food.