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Heavy Metal Contaminants in Agricultural Products


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#1 qad2019

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 01:35 PM

Hi All,

 

Not directly related to food (we are regulated under dietary supplements) but we pull botanical extracts from agricultural products and I'm wondering what "normal" levels look like for heavy metals and pesticides?  I'm being told that "according to American Herbal Pharmacopoeia 2014... For agricultural, the limit is 360,000 ppb and for extract the limit is 36,000 ppb of lead." but I want to make sure that is accurate.  We require LOQ for our finished product but I would like to be able to catch any issues earlier than finished product.  Thank you in advance for your help! 



#2 Hank Major

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 05:35 PM

The only properly researched and published data source that I am aware of is Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants: Herbal Reference Library by James A. Duke. This book sells online for $240 but if you are running a botanicals company I suggest it.

 

It contains vast lists of constituent chemicals, aromatics, vitamins, minerals, and contaminant chemicals for basically every species out there, with numbers.


Edited by Hank Major, 13 September 2019 - 05:37 PM.


#3 pHruit

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 05:50 PM

It's EU rather than US, but there is a little bit of data in this EFSA report on dietary exposure to lead: https://efsa.onlinel....efsa.2012.2831

There is no specific maximum limit applicable for lead in Europe, but for what it's worth there is a limit of 0.2mg/kg for cadmium applicable for the raw agricultural commodity "Leaf vegetables, fresh herbs, celeriac and the following fungi....".

 

Similarly if you're just looking for a guideline on what's achievable / reasonable on the pesticide front, the EU has a searchable database here: https://ec.europa.eu...ion&language=EN

If you use the "search products" option you can find lists of MRLs for various products, including a "herbs and edible flowers" category and a "spices" category, the latter having several sub-entries. Just keep in mind that EU and US MRLs aren't always aligned ;)

 

I very much doubt that either of these are anywhere near as comprehensive as Hank Major's suggestion, but they are free to access...



#4 Hank Major

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:33 PM


 

I very much doubt that either of these are anywhere near as comprehensive as Hank Major's suggestion, but they are free to access...

 

Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants is useful for many reasons other than giving figures for the ranges of ppm for the various heavy metals. It has all the nutritionals, the oddball hormones and flavorant chemicals, and is sometimes even broken out by the part of the plant.






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