19 Dec 2012

JRC-IRMM releases a new certified reference material for trace elements in shellfish

JRC-IRMM has released a new certified reference material (CRM) ERM-CE278k Mussel Tissue. Certified values are given for 13 elements that allow laboratories to control analytical measurements made for environmental monitoring and to ensure food safety. Compared to our previous mussel tissue CRMs, it provides values for a greater number of elements so that it may be useful for a wider variety of laboratory studies.

The mussel, mytulis edulis, is one of the most popular shellfish with European consumers. Maximum levels for contaminants in mussels, including cadmium, mercury and lead, are set by EC regulation 466/2001. With certified values for these and other elements, this new CRM is a useful tool for laboratories to develop reliable testing methods and to control the quality of measurements for food safety. In addition, because of their nature as filter-feeders, mussels are often sampled to provide an indication of pollution in the marine environment. Studies on the marine environment may rely on measurements made by different laboratories over several years. Quality control, which can be aided by the use of CRMs, is essential in such measurement campaigns to ensure that results are comparable in time and place.

The CRM was produced from wild mussels grown in European waters, with levels of contaminants below regulatory limits. The certified values are based on an inter‑comparison of expert laboratories of demonstrated competence. The uncertainties include contributions from homogeneity, stability and characterisation. The material was produced in accordance with ISO Guide 34. Details about the material processing and certification are described in the certification report, which can be accessed in the online catalogue.

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