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More efficient method for determination of undesirable substances

A new analytical method developed at Norway's National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) determines the content of mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead in foodstuffs in the same method

October 12, 2007


More efficient method for determination of undesirable substances

A new analytical method developed at Norway's National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES) determines the content of mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead in foodstuffs in the same method. The method was recently approved as a reference method in the Nordic Committee on Food Analysis.

The EU has maximum limits for mercury, lead and cadmium in seafood. Previously, it was necessary to utilize several different analytical methods in order to determine the levels of these metals in foodstuffs.

Now, by using a single method, the analytical process becomes both less time consuming and more cost effective for the laboratories which have implemented the method, says Kåre Julshamn, Head of Research at the Surveillance Research Programme at the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, NIFES, in Norway.

The method named “NMKL-method No. 186” was approved as an international reference method in the Nordic Committee on Food Analysis this year. It is an advantage to use such reference methods in the international food market, since the results from different laboratories become easier to compare.

"This way we may avoid misunderstandings across the borders regarding content of different undesirable substances and nutrients in exported and imported foods", said Julshamn.


A reference method
In order to be awarded this title the method has passed several strict quality controls and has been tested by 12 different laboratories in the Nordic countries, the EU and the USA.

"The method must give the same analytical results at each of the different laboratories, and the demands for precision and trueness are high", said Julshamn.

The method will also be implemented in the EU through the European Committee for Standardization. Methods from NIFES for determination of calcium, magnesium, sodium, arsenic and mercury are already implemented as NMKL reference methods.

Collaborating partners: National Veterinary Institute (Norway), National Food Administration (Sweden), Bayerisches Landesamt fur Gesundheit und Lebensmittesicherheit (Germany) and Nordic Committee on Food Analysis with secretariat at the National Veterinary Institute in Norway, Oslo.

Contact Kåre Julshamn, Head of Research at the Surveillance Research Programme at NIFES for more information: kaare.julshamn@nifes.no

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