European Commission’s recommendation on cadmium in food

The European Commission has published a recommendation calling for a reduction in he presence of cadmium in food stuffs. The recommendation involves the decrease of cadmium input during the growing of crops and vegetables for human consumption on land.

In order to reduce cadmium levels in food the Member States have to implement the already available mitigation method to farmers and food business operators. Progress should be monitored and reported to the Commission. In addition, occurrence data of cadmium should be reported to European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to reassess the situation by 31 December 2018.

Cadmium, which is toxic to humans, is easily absorbed into foodstuffs including cereals and cereal products, vegetables, nuts and pulses, starchy roots or potatoes, meat and meat products. The highest cadmium concentrations are found in food such as seaweed, seafood products, chocolate, fungi, oilseed, and edible offal.

To investigate the possibilities to reduce cadmium exposure, the decrease of the existing maximum level in foodstuffs was also considered by the Commission. However, it would be difficult to accomplish because cadmium contained in foodstuffs is not uniform and varies depending on a variety of factors. The Commission needed to consider these factors when drafting its recommendation. Some mitigation methods to reduce cadmium level in foods already exist but need some time to be fully implemented.

To adopt this recommendation, the Member states should perform the following:

1. Available mitigation methods for reduction of cadmium levels in foods, particularly in cereal, vegetables and potatoes, should be promoted or communicated to farmers and food business operators and then continue to be implemented.

2. Where further knowledge is needed to identify the appropriate mitigation measures, e.g. for a certain crop or in a specific geographical area, investigation/research, it should be carried out to fill these gaps in knowledge.

3. The progress of the effects of the mitigation measures should be regularly monitored.

– 3.1 Analytical results are provided on a regular basis to EFSA for compilation into a single database
– 3.2 A report on the progress of the implementation of this recommendation is to be provided to the Commission in December 2015 and the final report at the latest in February 2018.

4. The sampling and analysis should be performed according to Commission Regulation (EC) No 333/2007 of 28 March 2007 laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the level of lead, cadmium, mercury, inorganic tin, 3-MCPD, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in foodstuffs.

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