Skip to main content

Trace elements in Food and Reference Materials


Specific Objectives Method validation:
1. To validate 6 methods for stability measurement for various different combinations of trace elements BCR-184 (bovine muscle), BCR-634, 635, 636 (human blood) BCR-279 (sea lettuce), BCR 397 (human hair), VDA1-4 (polythene), BCR 640-642 (human urine), BCR 637-639 (human serum);
2. To finalise the method validation for the measurement of radium in drinking water;
3. To validate solid sampling methods for the measurement of trace elements in sediment, and an investigation into its possible application for various food matrices;
4. Validation of methods involving a new SS-ZAAS instrument;
5. To give relevant input into CEN method validation procedures for trace elements in seafood, dietetic food and infant food (e.g. milk powder) applying both in-house and inter-laboratory validation.

Method development:
6. To develop a method for the measurement of trace metals in sediment and different food materials by ETV- ICP-MS. Anticipated milestones and schedule Ra validation report ready Task completed 2003-10-31 BCR 397 (human hair) Task completed 2003-08-31 VDA1-4 (polythene) Task completed 2003-08-31 BCR-634, 635, 636 (human blood) Task completed 2003-08-31 BCR 637-639 (human serum) Task completed 2003-08-31 SS-ZAAS validated Task completed 2003-10-31 Sediment by ETV- ICP-MS ready Task completed 2003-10-31 BCR-279 (sea lettuce) Task completed 2003-12-31 Trace elements in BCR-184 (bovine muscle) Task completed 2003-12-31 BCR 640-642 (human urine) Task completed 2003-12-31
Planned Deliverables:

Validation reports for trace elements in various matrices; 1 validated method/ validation report - radium in drinking water; 1 validated method for measurement of trace elements in sediment by solid sampling; 2 advice to CEN with respect to the applicability and performance of different, food analytical methods; 1 draft of CEN standard method; Scientific publications.

Output Indicators and Impact Strong support to both European Measurement harmonisation and the enforcement of European Directives through certification measurements and quality control of Reference Materials. Direct input into European legislation via input into CEN standardised methods. Support of International Organisations by provision of certification measurement results.
Summary of the Action:

The work outlined in this action is directly connected to the production and certification programme (Actions BCR CRMs and Industrial CRMs, CRMs for soil and sludge, Water CRMs), particularly in the field of inorganic analysis and to analytical development work in the area of Food and Health. The action consists of two main pillars: Method validation: Emphasis will be put on digestion methods with the view to food (infant food, food fortification mixtures), soils and sludges, and to the measurement of pollutants in drinking water. Method improvement: Permanent improvement of the applied methods is crucial in order to meetg ever-increasing customer demands, mainly in terms of performance and efficiency. Therefore, in 2003 work will be performed to elucidate important technical phenomena during solid sampling analysis and to make ETV-ICP-MS technically more reliable.

This action aims at developing and validating relevant analytical methods for trace element determination in the food area and in support to the certification of CRMs hence, to the harmonisation of measurements. In-house expertise is necessary for participation to and/or design of proficiency tests (PTs). br> Within this action methods will be developed, validated and applied for the characterisation of BCR CRMs for value assignment in the certification process , homogeneity control during production and stability control of the final product. The activities in this action concentrate on inorganic and organic constituents in CRMs which have a large impact as evident from the sales of such materials or specific customer demands. Special validated methods (intercomparison studies) will be made available to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) or other standardisation bodies. In addition this activity will give a rapid response to direct requests from DGs and for the implementation of various existing and upcoming Commission policies (e.g. food fortification, nutraceuticals, purity of food additives, fraud).

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research


Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
B-2440 Geel