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Heavy Metals in Food & Feed NRL

Fera is the UK National Reference Laboratory for Heavy Metals in Food and Feed and has considerable expertise in this area. Fera has carried out many research projects and surveillance exercises for the UK Food Standards Agency, The EU, and commercial customers by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Applications include speciation (total and inorganic arsenic).

Fera specialises in detecting elements in foodstuffs in both ingredients and processed foods. Fera has developed advanced techniques for example using ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry) that allows analysis for up to 60 elements in one analytical run.

Contaminants such as heavy metals are substances that have not been intentionally added to food. These substances may be present in food as a result of the various stages of its production, packaging, transport or holding. They also might result from environmental contamination. Since contamination generally has a negative impact on the quality of food and may imply a risk to human health, European legislation lays down maximum allowed limits in foodstuffs. EU regulations cover the following heavy metals: cadmium, lead, mercury and inorganic tin.

Fera acts as the UK NRL for Heavy Metals in Food and Feed.

  • EU-RL Heavy Metals
  • The European Union Reference Laboratory for Heavy Metals in Feed and Food was created to implement Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with the feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules. Regulation (EC) No 776/2006 nominates the Joint Research Centre as the European Union Reference Laboratory (EU-RL) for Heavy Metals in Feed and Food. It is established at the JRC Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) and works together with appointed national reference laboratories (NRLs) of the EU Member States.

    The three types of matrices covered by the EU-RL are: wild caught fish, food of plant origin (and animal feed).

    EU-RL Interlaboratory comparisons
    IRMM provides a metrological interlaboratory comparison scheme to enable the benchmarking of laboratory performance through the International Measurement Evaluation Programme (IMEP ®). IMEP provides support to EU policies and the chemical measurement system of the enlarged EU assisting in the development of the national measurement systems.

    Laboratories can participate in the regular IMEPs. The IMEP-100 series are interlaboratory comparisons organised on behalf of the EU-RL for Heavy Metals in (Feed) and Food and are open for nominated national reference laboratories only.

  • Archive
  • Semi Reference Material Exercise 2012: NRL03 Heavy Metals in Wheat Flour

    This exercise was held exclusively for UK Official Control Laboratories (OCLs) and has now closed.

    The results are currently in preparation and for OCLs that participated, free material should be available as an ongoing Quality Control material in due course.

    If you have any queries please contact:

    [You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]
    (Heavy Metals in Food National Reference Laboratory).

    For general enquiries about the NRL or this exercise please contact us:

    [You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]

    Archived: 17/4/2013

    Semi Reference Material 2012: TNRL03 Heavy Metals in Wheat Flour

    This exercise is now closed and the results are being evaluated.

    For OCLs that participated, free reference material should be available as an ongoing Quality Control material at the end of the exercise.

    If you have any queries please contact:

    [You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]
    (Heavy Metals in Food National Reference Laboratory) Tel: 01904 462667

    This exercise was open by invitation only to UK Official Control Laboratories exclusively.

    For general enquiries about the NRL or this exercise please contact us:

    [You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]

    Archived: 7/3/2013

    Semi Reference Material 2012: TNRL03 Heavy Metals in Wheat Flour

    This exercise is currently underway (registration is now closed). The deadline for submission of results is Wednesday 8th August 2012.

    For OCLs that participate, free reference material should be available as an ongoing Quality Control material at the end of the exercise.

    If you have any queries please contact:

    Malcolm Baxter (Heavy Metals in Food National Reference Laboratory)
    Tel: 01904 462667

    This exercise is open by invitation only to UK Official Control Laboratories exclusively.

    For general enquiries about the NRL or this exercise please contact us:

    [You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]

    Archived: 21/01/13

    Semi Reference Material 2012: TNRL03 Heavy Metals in Wheat Flour

    We invite UK Official Control Laboratories to participate in this exercise for 2012: Al, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Sn, Hg, Pb and Se in wheat flour.

    To participate

    Participation is free and all results are treated confidentially. For OCLs that participate, free reference material should be available as an ongoing Quality Control material at the end of the exercise.

    If you have any queries please contact:

    Malcolm Baxter (Head of Heavy Metals in Food National Reference Laboratory)
    Tel: 01904 462667

    This exercise is open by invitation only to UK Official Control Laboratories exclusively.

    For general enquiries about the NRL or this exercise please contact us:

    [You must enable JavaScript to see this email address]

    Archived 10/12/12

Heavy Metals in Food & Feed NRL Contact

Malcolm Baxter

Tel: +44 (0) 1904 462667

Fax: +44 (0) 1904 462111

Email: Malcolm Baxter