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New method to determine inorganic arsenic in feedingstuffs

Tuesday 07 Jul 20


Jens Jørgen Sloth
Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 93 51 88 57

A new European standard method to determine the content of inorganic arsenic in animal feedingstuffs has been developed at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark. Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen.

Inorganic arsenic, which occurs naturally in soil, water and certain foods, is carcinogenic to both animals and humans. Therefore, EU have established limits for the maximum allowed content in certain types of food (rice and ricebased products) as well as for certain feedingsstuffs.

In a project under the European Committee for Standardization, CEN, researchers from the National Food Institute developed an analytical method to specifically determine the content of inorganic arsenic in foods. The standard was published in 2016. 

The researchers have now built on their knowledge and experience from this project and have developed an analytical method to determine the content of inorganic arsenic in animal feedingstuffs. While, the EU feed legislation does not set a maximum level to limit its presence in feedingstuffs, member states can ask producers to demonstrate that the content of inorganic arsenic is lower than 2 mg/kg.

The new standard method, which CEN published in July  2020, is able to detect the substance at these levels.

Method determines the content of harmful inorganic arsenic

Previous methods measured the content of total arsenic in animal feed, i.e. both harmful inorganic arsenic as well as organic arsenic, which is considered to be far less problematic.

The new method has been tested and verified by 12 European laboratories and has now been approved as the European analytical standard for measuring inorganic arsenic in animal feedingstuffs.

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In Denmark, the standard (EN17374:2020) is available through Dansk Standard’s webshop.

The National Food Institute works to increase trust and transparency around foods by developing the food inspection solutions for the official food control of the future. As such, the work supports the institute’s vision of promoting health and preventing disease.