This review article provides an overview of the most recent literature on biosensors for environmental pollutants and food contaminants. Due to the large number of publications, only papers published between 2000 and January 2003 were considered. Also, while not all of the published literature could be reviewed here, over 200 references are cited to provide a good overview of research undertaken in the last two years. Older publications are covered by a number of earlier review articles. This article provides an introduction into the field including specific consideration of the application areas, describes the typical biosensor assay format used, and is subsequently structured according to the biorecognition elements used (i.e., nucleic acids, enzymes, whole cells, tissue and whole organisms, antibodies and receptors, and biomimetic materials). In addition, a section on microbiosensing systems is provided. Since only very few microbiosensors with applications in environmental and food systems have been published, enabling technology is also covered in this article.