National and international regulations for heavy metals in food
The presence of heavy metals in food is a timely issue, involving contamination of the food chain and harm to public health
Contamination of foods by heavy metals has a number of different sources. The most significant ones are the contamination of the soil from which foods are produced, residual muds, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture, and the use of other materials, among others. Since this contamination has so many different sources, there is a wide range of foods contaminated by heavy metals, including products of plant origin such as cereals, rice, wheat, edible roots or mushrooms, as well as foods of animal origin such as fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
Metals or elements are produced in nature and in some industrial and agricultural processes. While some of them play a vital role in metabolic processes in humans, some of them are not essential. The latter are known as heavy metals, they are toxic and accumulate in organic tissues causing the so-called bioaccumulation.
Among the most important to control are Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic and Lead. Tin is also known for its toxicity.
In South Africa as well as in other world markets (Europe, United States, United Arab Emirates, etc.) there are specific regulations for the monitoring and control of heavy metals. Food Business Operators (FBOs) must also ensure that their products comply with the legislative limits for heavy metals.
If you want to know more about heavy metals, AGQ Labs offers you the latest techniques available for the measurement of heavy metals in food, always with the highest international accreditations.
Contact us if you want to receive more information about heavy metals analysis or other quality and safety food analysis.
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