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Heavy Metal Analysis

Heavy metals are in many food products, as most heavy metals are found within the soil. The problem with heavy metals in food is that most heavy metals are toxic to humans in specific levels. This is because the body is not able to metabolise the metals and they will accumulate in the body. This is why many foods will have a heavy metal analysis done on them.

Heavy metal analysis is being done on more foods, as more acceptable levels of heavy metals are being defined. Some crops and animals contained levels that are not within the set acceptable levels of heavy metals in food. Heavy metal, in high doses, can cause problems with the central nervous system and mental function, along with damaging many of the vital organs.

A heavy metal analysis for food looks for metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, inorganic tin, and arsenic. All of these heavy metals can be found naturally in food, and most times they are in the acceptable levels of heavy metals. However, with pollution and the use of insecticides, and commercial fertilisers, more foods have been found with higher amounts of heavy metals in them. There are also new foods being found with heavy metals in them, due to heavy metal analysis being done.

Acceptable levels of Heavy Metals Legislation
Since there was demand by consumers, there is new legislation about what are the acceptable levels of heavy metals in food products. The Euro Commission has sets of acceptable levels of heavy metal for each type of product that the heavy metal is normally found in. An example of this is milk products can have 0.02 mg per kg of lead, while bivalve mollusks are allowed to have up to 1.5 mg per kg of lead.

A heavy metal analysis is now done with an exact and precise method that ensures the food item is within the acceptable levels of heavy metals. This can be done to show compliance with the law, maximising the sustainability and safety of a product, and for brand protection. The technique used in the heavy metal analysis should measure the amount of the heavy metal, the species, and the micronutrients found in the food item. A heavy metal analysis will also look at the chances of the item being contaminated during the production, packaging, or cooking of the food. 

Heavy metals have always been in food products. In the last few decades, the public outcry for food safety and quality has caused the introduction of tight legislation about the acceptable levels of heavy metals in food. Heavy metal analysis is becoming much more delicate, which allows them to pick up even the smallest amounts of the heavy metal in food products.
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