Separation Science

How much heavy metal is toxic?

Need to know more about analysing trace metals in food? What guidelines are being provided by regulators? Why is speciation analysis so important? To find the answers listen to this on-demand learning presentation from Bert Popping.

Why is trace element analysis so important in food safetyThe French statesman Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821 on the and island of Saint Helena. When samples were taken from his hair in the 20th century, high levels of arsenic were found. Today, two centuries after Bonaparte's death, the European Commission and testing laboratories are still going strong testing for a wide range of heavy metals. The most commonly found heavy metals are arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. With heavy metals, the interesting point is that organic forms of heavy metals are significantly less toxic. This is why speciation matters.

How much heavy metal is actually toxic?
Here, regulatory bodies seem to disagree. While the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/ World Trade Organization (WTO) values are higher, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) experts recommend much lower values for tolerable weekly intake.

And in which foods do heavy metals occur?
Looking at regulatory bodies’ alert and recall systems in Europe and US, rice, long-living sea fish and lately fruit juices are top of the menu. And recently, EFSA requested to monitor a much larger number of food matrices for heavy metals.

Listen to Bert Popping discuss heavy metals in foodFood safety expert Bert Popping gives a presentation on why heavy metal analysis in food is still of great importance, what the key issues are and what regulators are currently doing to improve the situation. Bert Popping is consultant to food industry stakeholders and regulators on food safety matters. Before starting his own company, he held senior-level positions in food safety analysis with global third-party laboratories.
His interests are new analytical technology developments for food safety analysis and putting them into a wholistic context.

Separation Science, in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, offers an on-demand learning event covering the issues surrounding the analysis of trace heavy metals in food matrices and the solutions available.

By watching Bert's presentation you will learn:

  • which food matrices are coming into the focus of regulators?
  • which heavy metals are most important and why?
  • which heavy metals are typically found in which foods?
  • why is speciation of heavy metals important?

Learn more about trace element analysis >>