The European Food Safety Authority is calling for data on the content of selenium and chromium in food and beverages to be submitted by the end of November 2008.
Selenium and chromium occur naturally in the environment. Chromium is an important factor in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Selenium, an antioxidant, is a micronutrient is necessary for cellular funtion, yet it's toxic in large amounts.
Animals may be supplemented in feed with these two elements. While selenium is already authorised in the EU as inorganic (sodium selenate and sodium selenite) or organic (selenium-enriched yeast) forms, chromium is not yet authorised within the Community.
In 2006, the EFSA adopted an opinion on the safety and efficacy of the product 'Sel-Plex 2000' as a feed additive. This opinion concluded that the selenium exposure for young children consuming products of animals supplemented with this additive would be slightly above the threshold identified. Therefore, gathering of additional recent consumption data will be of value when refining the exposure assessment.
Regarding chromium, the EFSA is currently evaluating a dossier aiming to investigate the authorisation of chromium-methionine as a feed additive. Recent data on exposure to chromium in food and beverages would be needed for the assessment of chromium as a feed additive.
The data should include the analytical method used and, if possible, information on the validation of the method. Additionally, if available, the number of samples analysed, and the number of replicated measures of the same sample for each value.
Where possible the data for selenium should indicate if the origin of the selenium was inorganic or organic and any available data on selenium content in multivitamin and mineral food supplements should also be reported.
For chromium, the data should distinguish between the two most important occurring oxidation forms of chromium: Cr (III) and Cr (VI), and its origin (ie inorganic/organic).
Again, if possible, EFSA asks that the chromium content of multivitamin and mineral food supplement is also reported.
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This article was first published
in Food & Beverage International.