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Towards reference materials for nanoparticles in food

Tomato soup
Jun 25 2014

The JRC-IRMM combined its competence in the measurement of nanomaterials with its proficiency in the production of reference materials to develop a soup reference material spiked with silica nanoparticles.

A set of four reference materials for the detection and quantification of silica nanoparticles in tomato soup were produced. These materials aim to support the challenging work of verifying the correct labelling of nanomaterials in complex matrices such as food and consumer products.

Silica, e.g. labelled as E551, is already an approved food additive in the EU and can be used as anti-caking agent in soup powders and similar foodstuff. It may contain nanoparticles and Regulation 1169/2011 stipulates that from December 2014 on, consumers must be informed whether ingredients are present in their nano-form. Without suitable methods to check the correctness of statements, the implementation of such legislation will not be possible. To improve the availability of reliable and validated methods, the EU Project NanoLyse developed and validated analytical methods for the detection and quantification of nanomaterials in food. A second aspect of this project was the development of the first reference materials for nanoparticles in food matrices worldwide.

In close collaboration with the other project partners1, homogeneity and stability of the material were assessed and first steps towards a value assignment were made. The data obtained demonstrate that the production of a certified reference material should be feasible.

Read more in: R. Grombe et al., Production of reference materials for the detection and size determination of silica nanoparticles in tomato soup, Anal. Bioanal. Chem. (2014) 406:3895–3907, doi:10.1007/s00216-013-7554-1


1 Project partners: 

Department of Environmental Geosciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

The Food and Environment Research Agency, San Hutton York, UK

Environment Department, University of York, Heslington York, UK

Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas IQAC-CSIC and Centro de Investigaciones Biomédica en Red en Bioingeniería, CIBER-BBN, Barcelona, Spain

Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics, Research Group Bio- and Polymer Analysis, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria