Ministry examines perchlorate in fruits and vegetables



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Perchlorate in fruits and vegetables - Ministry wants clarification

In recent days it has been publicly known that fruit and vegetables have been found to contain the chemical perchlorate. Now the Federal Ministry of Consumer Affairs wants to work on the swift clarification of the causes.

Part of rocket fuel on food In a report by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk a few days ago the chemical pollution of fruits and vegetables was reported in Germany. Current research by the NDR consumer magazine “Markt” showed that almost every sample examined was contaminated with perchlorate. ("") Perchlorate is a chemical that is used in medications for hyperthyroidism, but is also a component of rocket fuel and fireworks. The research examined 17 samples from different countries of origin, which were purchased from discounters, supermarkets and the weekly market. Perchlorate was found in almost every sample, in three even far more than the maximum amount recommended by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. These were watermelon from Spain and lettuce from Belgium, each from Edeka and zucchini from Spain from Lidl.

Perchlorate cannot be washed off The chemist and food analyst Dr. Günter Lach warned: “An active ingredient that is present in a drug and because it is supposed to have an effect is completely incalculable in food. Perchlorate has no place in food. This could have health consequences, especially for children. ”There is the problem that perchlorate cannot be washed off from fruits and vegetables, nor that it evaporates during cooking. Apparently the producers themselves have known the problem for a long time. They had done research and collected data themselves. One can assume that almost every kind of fruit and vegetables can be contaminated. Perchlorate is a substance that can be produced naturally, but there is currently no evidence that the current occurrence on the food can be explained by natural processes. The problem has been known in the United States for around ten years, but the focus is primarily on the occurrence in drinking water.

Reactions from retailers After becoming known, Edeka informed “Markt”: “We take the findings you have shown very seriously. We got in touch with the respective producer associations and asked them to intensify the controls even further. "And Lidl explained that they had" sensitized suppliers and informed about the danger of an unconscious entry of perchlorate in fruits and vegetables. " Dr. demands significantly more commitment Günter Lach: “There has to be a very clear regulation that substances such as perchlorate may no longer be contained in the products. It is all the responsibility of those who give the food to the consumer. The food retail trade has to develop corresponding pressure - on producers and suppliers of such fertilizers. ”In general, organic food is less affected by the problem than fruit and vegetables from conventional cultivation.

Politicians are getting involved According to a press release from the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV), efforts are being made to clarify the causes that are currently still unknown. So it says: "In addition to the entry e.g. With dust experts are considering the possibility that the substance could also have been found in fruit and vegetables via fertilizers. Perchlorate had also recently been found in some fertilizers. For this reason, the BMELV also briefly advised the competent state authorities to examine fertilizers more intensively for perchlorate residues as part of the fertilizer traffic control. "The BMELV also told the North German consumer magazine:" The occurrence of perchlorate in food is a new problem. The responsible authorities are currently working intensively on clarifying the causes and taking appropriate measures. Since the findings of perchlorate in food cannot be limited to certain regions, Germany has informed the EU Commission in connection with the request for an assessment by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA. "There is a close exchange with all BMELV activities the Federal Environment Ministry and the food control authorities of the federal states. (ad)

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