risksThe economic impact of non-compliance for arsenic in consumptive products is a critical factor for continued market share and perception by the public for identifying product viability. Regulatory institutions and the general public have placed an increased burden on the producers of food and supplement providers to ensure their products contain an acceptably-low concentration of arsenic. Risk management is imperative for companies involved in such compliance testing and monitoring which is why collaborating with Brooks Applied Labs (BAL) is of the utmost importance. At BAL we understand that poor data quality and biased results can and will have a negative impact on your bottom line, which is why we pride ourselves on not just being the best analytical service provider in the industry, but also a solution provider and an integral part of your team to resolve issues if and when they surface.

Arsenic in food and supplements has been an issue since the early 1900’s, but has recently come to the forefront of public attention and is an increasingly hot topic. Anthropogenic arsenic sources include industrial processes such as mining and smelting, application of industrial wastes as agricultural amendments (fly ash from coal fired power plants), contamination from its use as an agricultural pesticide, and its use in feed additives and antibiotics given to animals. Naturally occurring arsenic can also be bioavailable, leading to unsafe levels in food and supplements, especially marine plants and animals. Since the toxicity and impact of arsenic exposure is dependent on the molecular form it is in, arsenic speciation analysis of consumptive products is critical for proper risk assessment.

The cardinal rules for speciation analyses are “thou shall not induce molecular conversion during extraction” and “though shall successfully extract the analyte of interest”. The technological problem encountered by laboratories around the world is that food and supplements have such wildly variable compositions that analytical strategies using different preparatory and analytical methods are required to extract and quantify the target arsenic compounds without altering them. However, there are currently only two FDA-published methods for arsenic speciation: one for rice and rice-based products, and one for juice and juice products. The extraction and analytical methods presented by the FDA have been demonstrated to work very well for a limited list of arsenic species in these simple matrices, but the 2014 Brooks Applied Labs International Interlaboratory Comparison Study for Arsenic Speciation in Food showed extensive variability with extraction efficiencies depending on the matrix. Furthermore, the presence of non-target arsenic species in certain consumptive products can result in co-elution of arsenic species, often leading to the reporting of false positives. Thus, different matrices necessitate the application of the specific preparatory and analytical methods to mitigate bias.

Because one size does not fit all when it comes to the quantitation of various arsenic species in a wide range of matrix types, BAL applies roughly a dozen different extraction and analytical method combinations for arsenic speciation. An algorithm is used that factors in information about the specific matrix, project goals, and the target speciation parameters to ensure that the most appropriate methods for sample preparation and analysis are selected and the best possible data is generated.

Please contact us for more information about arsenic speciation today!