Abstract A novel strategy which combines iteratively cubic spline fitting baseline correction method with discriminant partial least squares qualitative analysis is employed to analyze the surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy of banned food additives, such as Sudan I dye and Rhodamine B in food, Malachite green residues in aquaculture fish. Multivariate qualitative analysis methods, using the combination of spectra preprocessing iteratively cubic spline fitting (ICSF) baseline correction with principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant partial least squares (DPLS) classification respectively, are applied to investigate the effectiveness of SERS spectroscopy for predicting the class assignments of unknown banned food additives. PCA cannot be used to predict the class assignments of unknown samples. However, the DPLS classification can discriminate the class assignment of unknown banned additives using the information of differences in relative intensities. The results demonstrate that SERS spectroscopy combined with ICSF baseline correction method and exploratory analysis methodology DPLS classification can be potentially used for distinguishing the banned food additives in field of food safety.