Pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been an important topic in plant-based foods and honey for years. Until now, there have been no legal maximum levels for pyrrolizidine alkaloids in food, but recommendations of the BfR and EFSA, which evaluates the toxicological significance, as well as the exposure through food. The most recent risk assessment of the BfR (statement 026/2020 of June 17, 2020) recommends a maximum daily intake of 0.007 µg/kg body weight. So far, the body weight of the person and the amount of food consumed had to be taken into account for the assessment of marketability of food containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
In addition in Germany a “health based guidance value” (HBGV) of 0.1 µg/kg body weight / day according to the decision of the Working Group “Lebensmittel, Bedarfsgegenstände, Wein und Kosmetika” (ALB) has been applied. When the HBGV was exceeded, the food was assessed as “not safe” according to Article 14 (2) of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002. However, body weight of the consumer and the amount of food consumed were also decisive for this assessment.
From July 01, 2022, Regulation (EU) 2020/2040 amending Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 will apply, setting maximum levels for teas, herbal teas, food supplements, pollen products and herbs.
The exact scope of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids to be evaluated is now also specified in the regulation. The maximum levels refer to the sum of 35 pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
QSI has already been analysing pyrrolizidine alkaloids in a variety of products since 2008. From now on, QSI offers the new EU-35 scope in addition to the previous scopes. This allows our clients to check the current exposure of their products regarding the new scope already one year before the new maximum levels enter into force and thus ensures that all their products will continue to be marketable and comply with the new maximum levels next year.
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