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Taiwan FDA passed international proficiency tests for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in foods, showing the trustworthy analytical ability

  • Data Source:Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2017-12-27
  • Last Updated:2017-12-27

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the contaminants of international concern in recent years and may be found in barbecued and smoked foods. In order to protect the public health, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) developed an analytical method for PAHs detection and participated in international proficiency tests for PAHs in smoked fish product conducted by FAPAS (Food Analysis Performance Assessment). The achievement is that the reported results measured by TFDA were passed, and the measured values were close to the assigned values, which indicates that the analytical ability of TFDA has reached the international levels.

There are hundreds kinds of PAHs, benzo[a]pyrene is the most toxic among them and has been classified as a Group I carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). To protect public health, the maximum limit of benzo[a]pyrene in many food products has been included in the draft of  “Sanitation Standards for Contaminants and Toxins in Food” announced by the Ministry of Health and Welfare this year. The analytical method of benzo[a]pyrene in oil has also been open to public by TFDA. Apart from this, TFDA keeps developing analytical method in aquatic animals this year. More PAHs items that classified as the Group 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans) and 2B (possibly carcinogenic to humans) carcinogen are included in the analytical method.  QuEChERS technology is also applied to sample extraction and purification steps, which effectively simplifying the analytical procedures. In order to verify the method, TFDA participated in proficiency tests held by famous international agencies and applied the established method to analyze six PAHs items, including benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene and benzo[g,h,i]perylene. All the results measured by TFDA were close to the assigned values announced by the organizer and were graded as “Satisfying”. These results demonstrate the good accuracy of the established method and the analytical ability of TFDA has kept pace with international standards.

The development and announcement of testing methods are the main task of TFDA. To ensure food safety, TFDA will keep participating in international proficiency tests and verifying the accuracy of the established methods and analytical techniques.