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Maximum Residue Limits for Chlorate

Introduction of Maximum Residue Limits for Chlorate in Food

Chlorate and perchlorate are salts of chloric acid which may be present in cleaning agents or disinfectants and therefore may enter food stuff during processing or production. In contrast to chlorate, perchlorate is also used in fertilizers, industrial chemicals and fireworks. As a result, plants can be exposed to higher levels of exposure due to contaminated soil. Especially for honey, bee’s can collect water from contaminated plants and represent a further possible source of contamination. [1,2].

For perchlorate, transitional values for vegetal foods have been placed in the EU since 2015, which have been set by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (StALuT). Starting from 28.06.2020 the new Regulation (EU) No. 2020/749 [3] will enter into force, which sets limits for chlorate in foodstuff based on the Pesticide Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005).

QSI has been testing honey and vegetal foods for chlorate and perchlorate since 2014. The analysis is carried out using LC-MS/MS according to the QuPPe method. The following tables show overviews of analyses carried out at QSI with the respective results and matrices.

Table 1: Overview of analyses carried out for chlorate since 2017:

Test Results for Chlorate in Foods

MRL = maximum residue limit according to Regulation (EU) 2020/749; an MRL of 0.05 mg/kg was also used for syrup and other products

Table 2: Overview of analyses carried out for perchlorate since 2017:

Test Results for Perchlorate in Foods

MRL = transition value (StALuT); an MRL of 0,05 mg/kg was also used for honey and syrup


Chlorate only shows increased levels in coffee and tea; in honey the new limit of 0.05 mg/kg is rarely exceeded (in 1.2% of samples analysed). In the case of perchlorate, herbal and fruit teas (27.4 % of analysed samples above MRL) are also the most polluted, along with other products (mainly herbs).
Due to the introduction of a legal maximum limit for chlorate, your products would not be marketable if they exceeded this legal limit. To avoid complaints and product recalls, we recommend to take safety precautions and check products in advance.



[1, 2] FAQ BfR 2018: and
[3] Regulation (EU) 2020/749


Do you have any further questions about the analysis of chlorate and perchlorate?

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Bremen, 26.06.2020                                

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