Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract In international legislation concerning trace elements in food, in the environment or in occupational health most regulations are based on the total element contents, and are frequently given as maximum limits or guideline levels. In contrast, only few regulations pay attention to the molecular species in which the elements are bound. The international legislation concerning contaminants in food is presently being established in the Codex Alimentarius, which is an independent United Nations organisation under the joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. Development of the Codex General Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Food provides the framework for future international legislation on metals as contaminants in food. For certain food additives, which include some essential minerals, speciation is an integral part of the set of specification criteria, because only certain defined chemical compounds are permitted as sources of the essential element. The development of more species-specific analytical and toxicological data, and improved communication with legislators will be necessary before it will become possible to lay down species-specific regulations in all the cases where the specialised scientist will consider it reasonable.
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