Certasure™ Screening: Heavy Metals
Food Safety is Our Priority
Due to the nature of crops, plant-based colourants inherently add a layer of complexity to food safety controls. Because plants pull nutrients from the air, water, and soil they grow in, contaminants such as heavy metals can be absorbed throughout the growing process. Whilst the European food safety system aims at protecting human life and health against physical, biological and chemical hazards in food, any regulation in place can only be as good as its implementation.
Sensient has stringent raw material testing protocols in place and takes a proactive and preventive approach to manage product quality and consistency. Sensient’s Certasure™ is an integrated food safety program for colouring foods and natural colours from plant sources that combines a comprehensive vendor certification, best manufacturing practices, full raw material traceability and the most stringent testing protocols. There are five major screening protocols, which create the foundation of Sensient’s commitment to food safety across the following risk metrics:
This blog is part of a series exploring each testing protocol of Certasure™ :
What we test for, why we do it, and how it works. For more information on any certain screening process, click an icon above.
The Heavy Metals Screening Process
The Reason for Heavy Metals Screening
Natural ingredients and botanical crops grown for colouring purposes can absorb heavy metals through the air, water, and/or soil. A prominent example of serious consequence occurred several years ago, when six suppliers had to recall turmeric for high lead content. Recalls like this indicate companies are not doing the appropriate testing for heavy metal compliance according to regulatory guidance.
While navigating regulatory waters can be complex, Sensient is here to help guide you through those complexities. Additionally, there are regional regulatory bodies around the world that have issued systematic guidance levels for heavy metal permittance as a testing protocol roadmap, for the following metals Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury.
We measure all incoming raw materials to the strictest level permitted by any of these major bodies.
|USA:FDA 21CFR||CANADA: HC||EU: EC 231/2012||WHO: JECFA||JAPAN: JFSA||CHINA: GB|
|MERCURY||<1 PPM||NOT REQUIRED||<1 PPM||<1 PPM||NOT REQUIRED||<1 PPM|
|ARSENIC||<3 PPM||<3 PPM||<3 PPM||NOT REQUIRED||<2 PPM||<1 PPM|
|LEAD||<10 PPM||<10 PPM||<2 PPM||<2 PPM||<2 PPM||<10 PPM|
|CADMIUM||NOT REQUIRED||NOT REQUIRED||<1 PPM||NOT REQUIRED||NOT REQUIRED||NOT REQUIRED|
|TOTAL HEAVY METALS||NOT REQUIRED||<40 PPM||NOT REQUIRED||<40 PPM||<20 PPM||<20 PPM|
While these regulatory bodies all issue guidance, it’s up to ingredient suppliers to test for the appropriate levels of heavy metals in raw materials. We encourage all food, pet, and beverage manufacturers and developers to confirm these types of testing protocols are being conducted on their botanical ingredients like natural food colours.
This global perspective ensures that our colours are safe across all metrics.
How we do it?
Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Atomic Emission Spectroscopy
Sensient collaborates with an accredited long-term institute that objectively tests three separate samples of each botanical raw material using an ICP, a specialized analytical instrument that measures electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths characteristic of particular elements—in this case, heavy metals.
The Certasure™ Promise Protects Manufacturers and Consumers
Food safety is of the utmost importance to us, and we know it’s important to our customers as well. We monitor all incoming raw materials for the presence of heavy metals.
When a material fails our screening process, we will not accept any delivery. We do not want to speculate what other suppliers do or what happens to the respective botanicals on
the market that we have rejected, yet we would encourage our customers to check for preventive measures for all their suppliers to provide peace of mind for manufacturers and consumers alike.
When you receive colouring foods or natural colours from Sensient, the Certasure™ shield is placed on every shipment as a reminder of our guarantee of safe, quality, and authentic botanical food colours.
If you have any questions about our heavy metals screening process or our natural food colours, feel free to schedule a consultation. If you are already confident in the safety of our natural colours, and have experienced their quality, request a sample here for your upcoming projects.