New report offers toxic metal detection advice

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Concerns over toxic metal in baby's milk have sparked the creation of a new report on detection systems
Concerns over toxic metal in baby's milk have sparked the creation of a new report on detection systems

Related tags: Food safety

A new report detailing strategies for quickly detecting and reducing levels of toxic metals in food and beverages has been published by research support services provider PreScouter.

The authors emphasise that a smart testing strategy can reduce the use of resources for testing by better prioritisation and more efficient screening-level tests.

They go on to profile recent advances in heavy metal detection, bioremediation, and decontamination that rely on artificial intelligence, leveraging microbiota, microfluidics and nanoparticles to mitigate the risk of toxic metal contamination.

US investigations

PreScouter’s research was a response to recent congressional subcommittee report in the US that highlighted significant levels of heavy metals in baby food products, with concerns products could be contaminated with materials such as arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.

While the report has yet to lead to stronger regulations, growing consumer awareness has put pressure on manufacturers supplying to the US market to quantify and reduce toxic metals in foods and beverages.

Researcher and PreScouter report co-author Dr. Tanmay Chavan said: “We must take stringent measures to eliminate such dangerous chemicals from our food and water.

Threat to baby food

“The widespread prevalence of toxic metals in baby foods is now known, and our report outlines ways in which companies can potentially work toward eliminating toxic metals from their products.”

Baby milk was the center of a global recall by French manufacturer Lactallis in late 2017, over fears of salmonella contamination. The recall reportedly encompassed more than 12m boxes of the product and spanned 83 countries – but did not include the UK.

Meanwhile, a new system for detecting E.coli O157 in raw ground beef and raw beef trim​ has been developed by detection and inspection expert PerkinElmer.

The Solus One E.coli O157 Pathogen Detection Assay can process up to 192 tests per run. It is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, with the instrument, kits and methods involved require less training than traditional approaches for lab technicians.

Related topics: Food Safety

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