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Determination of arsenic and inorganic arsenic in food matrices remains a challenge

Feb 05 2015

The European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) on Heavy Metals (HM) organised two proficiency tests (PTs) to assess the capability of laboratories to determine cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury and inorganic arsenic in mushrooms. Results show that arsenic and inorganic arsenic remain a challenge for a significant number of laboratories.

The two PTS, run to identify areas for improvement with regard to the analysis of heavy metals in mushrooms, were requested by the EU Member States' National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) to the EURL-HM - hosted by the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, a Directorate of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. In particular some pitfalls were identified in the determination of total arsenic. The outcome of the studies revealed that the analytical capabilities of NRLs to determine arsenic and inorganic arsenic (iAs) in food commodities have increased since the last PT organised in 2010, however they have less satisfactorily scores in comparison to the other heavy metals analysed. These two studies further demonstrated that there is not really the need for sophisticated instruments, provided they are used under the right temperature conditions.


Reference: Determination of total cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury and inorganic arsenic in mushrooms: outcome of IMEP-116 and IMEP-39, Food Addives & Contaminants Part A. F. Cordeiro et al.

Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A (2015) 32:54-67, doi:10.1080/19440049.2014.966336