Research Article: Cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic in fresh fruits and fruit products intended for human consumption in the Republic of Serbia, 2015–2017

PublicationDate: Author: Milana Lazović, Vladimir Tomović, Ivana Vasiljević, Isidora Kecojević, Mila Tomović, Aleksandra Martinović, Tanja Žugić Petrović, Bojana Danilović, Dragan Vujadinović, Igor Tomašević, Milenko Smiljanić & Vesna Đorđević

The European Commission has established legislation for toxic metals in certain foodstuffs in order to protect public health already in 1993. After several amendments, new maximum levels for cadmium and lead in certain foods were set as per 30 and 31 August 2021 for lead and cadmium, respectively. The new Serbian Regulation on “maximum levels of certain contaminants in food” is fully harmonised with this European legislation. The concentrations of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and arsenic (As) were determined in 832 samples of 39 species of fruits and processed fruits, collected during the period January 2015 to December 2017. Fruits and fruit products originated from 45 countries, including Serbia. Samples were analysed by inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Concentrations of cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic in fruits and fruit products were compared to these maximum levels (MLs). Overall, measurable Cd, Pb, Hg, and As were found in 377 samples (45.3%). According to the former regulations, the maximum levels of Cd and Pb for analysed fruits and fruit products were exceeded in only 10 samples (1.20%; n = 832): Cd in 6 and Pb in 4 samples, but according to the latest regulations, the maximum levels of Cd and Pb for fruits were exceeded in 196 of the samples (23.9%; n = 820): Cd in 191 and Pb in 5 samples. The increase of ML exceedances shows that attention needs to be paid for compliance of food to the recent MLs for these metals.

Keywords: Fruits; fruit products; heavy metals; maximum levels; updated legislation; increasing exceedances

In: Food Additives & Contaminants

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