JRC-IRMM has released the new certified reference materials (CRMs) ERM-BB184; bovine muscle, ERM-BB186; pig kidney and ERM-BB422 fish muscle. Certified values are given for a selection of trace elements in each CRM that allow laboratories to control analytical measurements made to ensure food safety.
Maximum levels for contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead in foodstuffs are set by EC regulation 466/2001, which also requires that EU member states adopt appropriate surveillance measures. In the first 6 months of 2012, testing laboratories made 65 notifications to the rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF) that limits of heavy metals were exceeded in foods intended for the European market. With certified values for contaminant elements, the new CRMs are a useful tool for laboratories to develop reliable testing methods and to control the quality of measurements.
The CRMs were produced from raw foods available on the European market, with levels of contaminants below regulatory limits. The certified values are based on an intercomparison of expert laboratories of demonstrated competence. The uncertainties include contributions from homogeneity, stability and characterisation. The materials were produced in accordance with ISO Guide 34. Details about the material processing and certification are described in the certification report, which can be accessed in the online catalogue.