SAL have developed an extensively validated method for perchlorate in a wide range of fruits, vegetables and milk. The method is awaiting UKAS accreditation.

Detection method: LC/MS/MS
Reporting limit : 0.01mg/kg

Perchlorate occurs naturally in the environment, in deposits of nitrate and potash, and can be formed in the atmosphere and precipitate into soil and groundwater. It also occurs as an environmental contaminant arising from the use of nitrate fertilisers and from the manufacture, use and disposal of ammonium perchlorate used in rocket propellants, explosives, fireworks, flares and air-bag inflaters and in other industrial processes. Perchlorate can also be formed during the degradation of sodium hypochlorite used to disinfect water and can contaminate the water supply. Water, soil and fertilisers are considered to be potential sources of perchlorate contamination in food.

Perchlorate, in large amounts, interferes with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. In adults the thyroid gland helps regulate the metabolism by releasing hormones, while in children, the thyroid helps in natural development.

On 13th July, provisional temporary MRLs were set for perchlorate ion in fresh produce ranging from 0.2 to 0.5mg/kg. Subsequently, on October 18th 2013 ,German Food Safety Agency proposed a level of 0.05mg/kg as the MRL for perchlorate from their surveillance study. The temporary MRLs will be reviewed by EFSA in December 2013.

JECFA have established a Provisional Maximum Tolerable Daily Intake of 0.01mg/kg body weight.

The European Commission has published a new statement on perchlorate, which summarises the current position with regard to monitoring in fresh produce:

“Following initial findings of perchlorate in fruits and vegetables produced in European Union, a more extensive monitoring indicated that the presence of perchlorate in fruits and vegetables is more widespread than initially expected. From the preliminary investigations it appears that the use of certain fertilizers containing high levels of perchlorate is an important contributor to the presence of perchlorate in fruits and vegetables. However, also other sources may contribute to the presence. Further investigations are needed to have a better view of the different sources of contamination of food, in particular fruits and vegetables with perchlorate and their relative. The non-harmonised enforcement approach as regards the presence of perchlorate in food, in particular fruits and vegetables have caused some tension in the market. It was therefore appropriate to agree on a common provisional enforcement approach for the intra-Union trade for the period awaiting the availability of the EFSA opinion was agreed. This common provisional enforcement approach was agreed at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 16 July 2013. It is to be noted that the agreed levels are applicable on the edible part of the food concerned.”

SAL has developed extensive state-of-the-art accredited analytical laboratories dedicated to the most modern and specialist food testing services.

Our food laboratories are located in three of our five UK sites: Cambridge, Moy and Manchester.

Benefits of our analytical testing service include:

  • High quality results
  • Online LIMS
  • Rapid turnaround times
  • Dedicated project managers
  • Bespoke complimentary courier service
  • Reports supplied in a PDF format

To discuss our Perchlorate testing services in more detail, please call us on 01954 782791 or contact us online.