Maximum levels of Arsenic and Inorganic Arsenic in food in EUNews
Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment but industrial emissions and its use in fertilisers and pesticides have contributed to increased levels. Food and drinking water are the main sources of exposure to arsenic.
Last 6th March 2023, the Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/465 of 3 March 2023 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards the maximum levels of arsenic in certain foods was published.
According to the EFSA opinion on 2009, organic arsenic causes lung, bladder and skin cancers and the CONTAM group concluded that the provisional tolerable intake (PTWI) of 15 μg/kg body weight (b.w) per week, established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (‘JECFA’) was no longer appropriate, as data had shown that inorganic arsenic causes cancer of the lung, of the urinary bladder and the skin, and that a range of adverse effects had been reported at exposures lower than those reviewed by the JECFA.
In the last Scientific Opinion of 2021, EFSA concluded that, across the different age classes, the main contributors to the dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic were rice, rice-based products, grains, grain-based products not containing rice and drinking water. The Authority has further concluded that particular foodstuffs indicated for the young population (e.g. cereal-based food for infants and young children and biscuits, rusks and cookies for children, infant formulae, follow-on formulae, foods for special medical purposes intended for infants and young children and young child formulae, baby foods and fruit juices) made a relevant contribution in the dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic in this population group.
Therefore, Regulation (EU) 1881/2006 is amended to reduce the existing maximum levels for inorganic arsenic and to set new levels in rice flour, rice flakes, puffed breakfast rice, rice-based soft drinks, fruit juices/nectars, liquid and powdered products for infants and young children and baby food.
A total arsenic level is also defined for salt, based on the one defined by Codex (0,5 mg/kg for total arsenic in salt).
In Section 3 of the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006, subsection 3.5 Arsenic (inorganic) is replaced by the following:
|Foodstuffs (1) & Maximum levels (mg/kg wet weight)|
|‘3.5||Arsenic (inorganic arsenic for 3.5.1 to 3.5.4 and total arsenic for 3.5.5) (50)|
|3.5.1||Cereals and cereal based products (51)|
|184.108.40.206||Non-parboiled milled rice (polished or white rice)||0,15|
|220.127.116.11||Parboiled and husked rice||0,25|
|18.104.22.168||Rice waffles, rice wafers, rice crackers, rice cakes, rice flakes and popped breakfast rice||0,30|
|22.214.171.124||Rice destined for the production of food for infants and young children (3)||0,10|
|126.96.36.199||Non-alcoholic rice-based drinks||0,030|
|3.5.2||Infant formulae (3) (29), follow-on formulae (3) (29), foods for special medical purposes intended for infants and young children (3) (29) and young child formulae (29) (57).|
|188.8.131.52||-marketed as powder||0,020|
|184.108.40.206||-marketed as liquid||0,010|
|3.5.3||Baby foods (3),(29)||0,020|
|3.5.4||Fruit juices, concentrated fruit juices as reconstituted and fruit nectars (14)||0,020|
This regulation shall enter into force the 26 th March 2023 and the foodstuffs legally placed on the market before this date may remain on the market until the date of minimum durability or use-by-date.
Mérieux NutriSciences provides a wide range of services (including testing) to food manufacturers for arsenic and inorganic arsenic quantification guaranteeing them to meet regulations and quality standards. Our laboratories are ISO17025 accredited (*)
Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/465 of 3 March 2023 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels of arsenic in certain foods
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs
Scientific report of EFSA on the chronic dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic, EFSA Journal 2021; 19(1): 6380
Scientific report of EFSA on the dietary exposure to inorganic arsenic in the European population, EFSA Journal 2014; 12(3): 3597
EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM); Scientific Opinion on Arsenic in Food. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(10):1351