Cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic in animal feed and feed materials - trend analysis of monitoring results

Adamse, P.; Fels, H.J. van der; Jong, J. de


Data from the National Feed monitoring program of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), the Product Board Animal Feed and representatives from the feed industry have been used to study trends in maximum limit (ML) exceedances and average, median and 90th percentile concentrations of cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic in feed and feed materials in the Netherlands between 2007 and 2013. The data relate to monitoring research and do not contain results from targeted samples taken as a follow-up on incidents. In most samples all heavy metals were analysed at the same time. Between 300 and 500 samples were analysed each year. The results of these analyses enable the NVWA to improve their risk-directed sampling strategy. Based on the results, monitoring for cadmium and lead should focus on complementary feed, feed material of mineral origin and feed material of animal origin, especially fish meal. No forage samples have been reported with lead concentrations exceeding the ML. For complementary feed it is important to make a proper distinction between mineral and non-mineral feed because the ML for lead in the latter group is lower. For feed material of mineral origin and feed material of animal origin (especially fish meal), an increase was seen in both the percentage of samples exceeding the ML for cadmium and the average cadmium concentration . For mercury, an increasing presence was seen in fish meal and premixtures . The concentration of arsenic increased significantly in feed materials of mineral origin and in complementary mineral feed. In seaweed/algae products a relative large number of samples contained arsenic concentrations that exceeded the ML. However, most samples were from 2009, which made it impossible to determine trends. Recommendations: For many feed categories a low sampling frequency is sufficient, but from complementary mineral feed, binders and anti-caking agents and several feed materials of mineral origin more samples should be collected. Both fish meal (cadmium, mercury) and algae (arsenic) should be monitored as well.