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Determination of inorganic arsenic in a wide range of food matrices using hydride generation – atomic absorption spectrometry.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) underlined in its Scientific Opinion on Arsenic in Food, the need to produce arsenic speciation data for different food commodities to support dietary exposure assessment. A method, previously validated in a collaborative trial, has been applied to determine inorganic arsenic in a wide variety of food matrices, covering grains, mushrooms and food of marine origin (31 samples in total). The method is based on (i) solubilisation of the protein matrix with concentrated hydrochloric acid to allow the release of all arsenic species into solution, (ii) the subsequent extraction of the inorganic arsenic present in the acid medium using chloroform and (iii) final detection and quantification by flow injection hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry. The method is characterized by a limit of detection of 10 µg/kg dry weight, which allowed quantification of inorganic arsenic in a large amount of food matrices. Information is provided about performance scores given to results obtained with this method and which were reported by different laboratories in several proficiency tests. The percentage of satisfactory results obtained with the discussed method is higher than that of the results obtained with other analytical approaches.