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Harmful Nitrofuranes in Food
In the whole of the EU a zero tolerance limit is accepted
Public authorities did not – as they did for other harmful substances - set a limit-of-tolerance for residues of the group of nitrofuranes. To stop the intrusion of the forbidden substance into the food chain, the EU itself set a zero tolerance limit in the mid nineties. Therefore antibiotics in food given to animals for slaughter must be absolutely free of nitrofuranes. Imported products are not allowed to contain even the lowest concentration of nitrofuranes.
Producers and importers need to hold a certificate of harmlessness
If residues of the harmful compounds are found in random samples taken by offices of national investigation, an immediate sales-stop is issued and the product must be withdrawn from the market. The importer is obliged to dispose of the whole charge , which means high costs. The importers are responsible for carrying out the control plans on nitrofurane residues issued by the European Community. They are also responsible for the observation of residues in food imported from third countries into Germany and other EU-States. The most recent official controls show that German and other European traders cannot rely on the importers. Producers in third countries do not seem to follow the European standards and regulations sufficiently.
Preventing concern of consumers
To make sure that the imported articles are free from harmful compounds, it is necessary to have all food in question tested by an independent laboratory. Thus a high level of product quality can be guaranteed and the concern of the consumers can be prevented. Nitrofuraneantibiotics decay after a short period of time (up to one hour) into their metabolites and can therefore not be detected as a whole but their proteinbinding metabolites are present in detectable amounts. Thus it is possible to prove an illegal application up to weeks after the treatment.
GALAB Laboratories: Safe food analysis by validation
The renowned analytical laboratory GALAB in Geesthacht developed a modern validated measurement procedure for reliable determination of nitrofurane metabolites in food. In an optimized derivatisation-/extraction-procedure the metabolites are enriched. For identification and quantification, the liquid chromatography coupled with tandem-mass-spectrometry (API 3000) is used. The LC-MS-MS system provides most reliable data on the existence of nitrofurane metabolites in the analysed products. The limit of determination per component is currently at 0.5 µg/kg. As an independent analytical laboratory GALAB Laboratories works in the field of monitoring and certification of food. GALAB Laboratories has been an acknowledged partner of numerous wellknown companies in the food industry for many years.
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