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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The work carried out by the JRC operated EU reference laboratory for heavy metals (EURL-HM) was reflected and cited in the recently published Commission Regulation (EU) No 1275/2013, amending Directive 2002/32/EC setting maximum levels for undesirable substances in animal feed.
The work concerns the analysis of lead in the feed ingredient kaolinitic clay, which is used as an anti-caking agent in compound feed. Generally, the total and extractable lead contents are found to be similar by using various extraction methods applied to feed and food ingredients. However, the European Commission was informed by several feed producers about problems related to kaolinitic clay. The EURL-HM demonstrated that there is a significant difference between the analytical results obtained by the application of different extraction methods that are used for the determination of lead in the kaolinitic clay. The EURL-HM carried out several inter-comparison laboratory studies and confirmed the observations of the feed producers.
The advice to refer to specific extraction conditions for feed containing kaolinitic clay has been implemented in Commission Regulation (EU) No 1275/2013 by a footnote in the revised Annex 1 to Directive 2002/32/EC.