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Wissen, was drin ist.


January 2018

• New Co-CEO at the GBA Laboratory Group
• Revision to the Drinking Water Ordinance
• New EU Regulations for Residue Analysis
• Soil of the Year 2018

• Furan in Food
• Fruit Logistica Berlin and BioFach Nuremberg


Dear Readers,

We hope that you have had a pleasant start to the new year and we would like to welcome you to the first issue of our newsletter in 2018. In addition to interesting topics in the fields of environmental and food analysis, we also pro­vide you with news concerning developments in the GBA Laboratory Group. If you have any questions or com­ments for us, please feel free to email us at: .

Enjoy reading!
Your GBA Laboratory Group 


With Steffen Walter as the New Co-CEO, the GBA Laboratory Group Initiates the Process of Transferring Leadership

The management, the advisory board, and the partners of the GBA Laboratory Group are pleased to announce today that the management team has been strengthened even further. Starting January 2018, Steffen Walter, as Co-CEO of GBA Holding GmbH, is responsible for the Pharmaceutical and Environmental Divisions and will be coordinating the implementation of the strategy for growth and international expansion in both of these fields, as well as the administration, purchasing, HR, and digitalization. With his long-term managerial experience in the field, he not only enhances the existing management team, but as Co-CEO, he also steps in as the successor to Manfred Giesecke, who had previously been serving as the sole CEO.

Having graduated from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) with a deg­ree in Business Engineering (Dipl.-Wirtschaftsingenieur), Steffen Walter began his career as a managerial assistant at the German Mechanical Engineering In­dustry Association (VDMA). He has been involved in the laboratory and TIC field since 2001. His start as the assistant to the board of directors at Institut Fresenius was followed up by positions of leadership within the SGS Group in Germany. In 2007 he assumed the responsibility for the operational and com­mercial activities concerning the laboratories, inspection, and certification in the following fields: non-food, food, electrics & electronics, and automotive. Before switching to the GBA Laboratory Group, he served as General Manager and a member of the European Management Board for the Eurofins Food Division in Germany and Turkey for several years.

We are looking forward to working together with Steffen Walter and we would like to wish him a warm welcome to the company.


Fourth Revision to the Drinking Water Ordinance

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

The revised German Drinking Water Ordinance went into force on January 9th, 2018. This means that the amended appendices II and III from the EC Council Directive on drinking water have now been put into federal law in Germany.[1-3] The purpose of this is to improve the quality of drinking water in Germany even further.

A fundamental change in the terminology is that the German title, “Trinkwasser­verordnung,” will now only be abbreviated to “TrinkwV” and this term will des­cribe the current version. A specific year will no longer be provided in the regu­lation title.

There are essential revisions that apply to three different groups:

Water Suppliers:

-  Adaptation of the sample-taking based on risk assessments. This is meant 
   to afford water suppliers more flexibility for testing their drinking water.
   Now, in close coordination with the responsible health agency, water suppliers
   can adapt their legally required drinking water testing to the individual
   circumstances on-site, in order to gain the maximum amount of insight as
   well as to reduce the number of tests that do not provide much information
   about their water supply. For this purpose, the water supplier must have a risk
   assessment conducted by a person with sufficient expertise in order to justify
   the adaptation of the scope and frequency of testing in a well-founded and
   reasonable way.[4]
-  The monitoring time period for conducting chemical testing of small facilities
    for private usage can, under certain circumstances, be extended from three
    years to five years.
-  It is now prohibited to introduce objects or treatments to the untreated water
   or drinking water that is not designated to enter the drinking water supply, 
   which is meant to prevent the hygienic deterioration of the drinking water.
-  The term “routine testing” has been changed to the term “parameters from 
   group A.”
-  The term “comprehensive testing” has been changed to the term “parameters
   from group B.”

Testing Laboratories:

-  One additional revision is the requirement that testing laboratories imme-
   diately report any instance where the parametric value for Legionella species
   is exceeded, both directly to the responsible health agency and to the labo-
   ratory’s customer.

Residential Real Estate:

-  The business owner or another proprietor (testing laboratory) must place an 
   order with an authorized testing laboratory and the analysis and the sampling
   of drinking water must be carried out by this authorized laboratory. However, it
   is still possible to incorporate external samplers.
-  For properties that go into operation on or after January 9th, 2018, the first
   tests for Legionella must be conducted within the first three to twelve months
   of operation.

The GBA Laboratory Group is authorized in accordance with § 15 par. 4 as a drinking water testing laboratory and has been working in this field in close coo­peration both with water suppliers and other companies and proprietors for many years. The revisions have already been implemented and are now in force, which means that our work has continued smoothly into 2018. If you have any questions about the fourth revision to the Drinking Water Ordinance or other topics, then please feel free to contact your own individual customer ser­vice representative at the GBA Laboratory Group, or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Dr. Sven Steinhauer
Tel: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1] bgbl118s0099.pdf#__bgbl__%2F%2F* % 5B%40attr_id%3D%27bgbl118s0099.pdf%27%5D__1516012721018, accessed on 15 January 2018
[2] meldung-vom-11012018-trinkwasserverordnung/, accessed on 15 January 2018
[3], accessed on 15 January 2018
[4] rechtliche-grundlagen-empfehlungen-regelwerk/ empfehlungen-stellungnahmen-zu-trinkwasser, accessed on 15 January 2018


Radish Leaves: New EU Regulations for Residue Analysis

by Julia Bartels, GBA Laboratory Group

In September 2017, the Member States passed a revised version of Annex I of the Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, which officially went into force on January 1st, 2018. According to the revised regulation, radish leaves are designated as adjunct cultures to kale. Consequently, starting January 1st, 2018, the maxi­mum residue level for kale must also be applied to radish leaves and the leaves must be analyzed separately from the roots. The maximum residue level for the roots are also listed in Annex I of the regulation, under the heading “Root and Tuber Vegetables.”[1]
Radishes are primarily used for the consumption of the roots. That’s why the radish leaves, due to their low level of importance, as well as the fact that they were not assigned to a defined culture group in the regulations, had previously not been tested. Since these vegetables, however, are sold in bunches along with their leaves, there is the possibility that the consumer might not only consu­me the roots, but also the leaves. The new regulation means that not only will the roots be inspected for residue in the future, but the leaves as well. The BVL (German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety) has pointed out that at the moment it is not possible to determine whether or not the maxi­mum residue levels can be complied with when using the legally permitted pes­ticides for radishes, since there currently is not any data available on residue levels for the leaves. Consequently, selling whole radishes is only possible in two cases. The first case is if they are produced only using active ingredients that are listed in Annex IV of the Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, since there are no legally binding maxi­mum residue levels for these substances. The second case is if residue testing is conducted prior to placing these products on the market, and these tests yields results that do not exceed the maximum residue levels for the leaves. In all other cases, the BVL recommends selling the radi­shes without leaves for the time being.[1]

In the context of the new legal regulation, the BVL wants to reexamine the pes­ticides that are permitted for usage with radishes and, if necessary, preclude the usage of the leaves by imposing corresponding restrictions.[1]

The GBA Laboratory Group has been conducting pesticide analyses in food and environmental samples for many years, so we will gladly serve as your expert consultant in this field. Please contact your individual customer service repre­sentative, or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Ms. Stefanie Riechers
Tel: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1] 2017_12_22_Fa_RHG_Rettich_Radieschen.htmlaccessed on 02 January 2018


Soil of the Year 2018 – Alpine Rock-Humus Soil

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

Alpine rock-humus soil was selected as the soil of the year in order to draw attention to the important role that this kind of soil plays in the natural and cul­tural environment of alpine regions. It consists of two layers, which in geology are technically referred to as horizons. Hard rock forms the substratum, called the C horizon. Above this, dead plant matter is collected, mainly leaves and needles, so a layer of humus is formed (L and O horizons).[1,2]
Special conditions are necessary for the formation of these horizons, which is why the alpine rock-humus soil is only found at high altitudes in mountains. With­in Germany, these special conditions are met in the Bavarian Alps. There, the subalpine zone begins at approx. 1,3000 meters above sea level and rea­ches on average an altitude of up to 2,000 meters. Here there are short vege­tation periods, long cold phases, and often a bedding of plant matter that is hard to decompose. Under these conditions, only a few organisms are capable of transforming the plant matter into humus and inorganic matter (humification and mineralization). So over the course of time, a layer of humus is formed above the rocky substratum. This humus layer can be several decimeters thick and it supplies the vegetation with water and nutrients. Additionally, this helps promo­te water retention and ensures the stability of the hillsides. Like a sponge, they absorb and retain several times their own weight in rainwater. The high reten­tion rate of the soil protects from erosion from strong rainfall and helps delay the rainwater runoff. By delaying the runoff and retaining the water, this ensures that the plants receive enough water.[2]

The first signs of climate change are strong precipitation and increasing summer temperatures. That’s why this alpine soil plays such an important role in water retention and protection against erosion. The increasing temperatures, how­ever, promote the degradation of humus and release carbon dioxide. This green­house gas, in turn, further intensifies climate change. In addition to the increased temperatures, the sensitive rock-humus soils are particularly endan­gered by erosion processes. Storms, forest fires, clear-cutting to deal with pest infestations, or even sealing the soil are all factors that further exacerbate the condition. Usage for tourism and the intensive grazing can cause the soil to be­come damaged and compacted. In this case, the humus layer can be eroded via ruts formed by foot traffic or vehicles and as a result, the rainwater retention capabilities are diminished. Further interventions such as deforestation or clea­ring also promote erosion processes.[2]

In addition to the erosion problem, even in the case of reforestation, one has to take care to prevent excessive browsing by hoofed game, which can strongly inhibit the efforts to regenerate the forest. Even with completely undisturbed conditions, it takes about 1,000 years for a 30 cm layer of humus to be formed. The soil is therefore a precious and finite resource that must be preserved. There­fore, it is of vital importance that alpine soils are protected and treated with care. Lastly, alpine rock-humus soils provide an archive for natural and cultural history.[2]

The German UBA (Umweltbundesamt/Environmental Protection Agency) de­signates a soil of the year as a method of raising awareness among the general public about the pressing need to deal with soil as a finite resource in a more care­ful and thoughtful way. The GBA Laboratory Group supports this action by passing on this information to our readers. If you have any questions about this or any other topic from the field of environmental analysis or food analysis, then please feel free to contact your individual customer service representative at the GBA Laboratory Group or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Dr. Sven Steinhauer
Tel: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1] Den Boden bewahren. Den Weitblick behalten. Alpiner Felshumusboden - Boden  des Jahres 2018, accessed on 15 January 2018
[2], accessed on 15 January 2018


Furan in Food

by Mareen Lehmann, GBA Laboratory Group

Furan is a colorless, odorless, and volatile fluid that boils at 31°C and is not soluble in water. In the chemical industry, it is often used in the production of other chemicals as well as in resins and lacquers. The term “furans” is often used to refer to chlorinated dibenzofurans (environmental contaminants with properties similar to dioxins), although these do not have anything in common with actual furan.

Furan, like acrylamide, is formed in foods that are heated, though the precise conditions and mechanisms have not yet been fully elucidated. Depending on the composition of the food, one must consider several different ways that furan can be formed. However, all of the prevailing methods of furan formation are based on heating processes such as cooking or roasting.[1] Furan can be for­med from a variety of different substances that occur naturally in foods, inclu­ding vitamin C, carbohydrates, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, and caro­tenoids.[2]

After reexamining the available data set (including animal testing), the Euro­pean Food Safety Authority (EFSA) arrived at the conclusion that liver damage and liver cancer are the most critical effects that can be caused by furan expo­sure. The research has not yet conclusively determined how exactly furan trig­gers cancer in animals. No definitive maximum value (such as a tolerable daily intake, TDI) was able to be determined based on the available data, which is why a “margin of exposure” was calculated instead. The MOE indicates the level of exposure to furan in food products that could potentially lead to adverse health effects.[2]

A wide variety of different foods can contain furan, ranging from roasted pro­ducts such as coffee (especially espresso), cacao, nuts, and grain products, all the way to food products that are heated in closed containers, such as canned goods and convenience food. In the case of convenience food, elevated furan content has mainly been found in baby food containing noodles, meat, and vege­tables. Children are primarily exposed to furan through roasted and puffed cereal products, whereas coffee represents the largest source of furan for adults.[3]

In order to reduce furan intake, several different measures can be taken; e.g. increase the amount of freshly prepared foods that are consumed (also for baby food) and minimize the consumption of convenience food and canned goods. When, however, these products are consumed, they should be stirred often while being heated without a lid so that the volatile furan can escape. The same advice is also valid for preparing coffee (e.g. filter coffee), in which case open brewing systems are preferable. Furthermore, as is the case with acrylamide, the furan content increases with the level of browning.[3]

The GBA Laboratory Group conducts furan analysis and can provide you with comprehensive consulting on this topic. If you have any questions, please con­tact your individual customer service representative or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Dr. Frank Schütt
Tel: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1], accessed on 10 January 2018
[2], accessed on 10 January 2018
[3] Kontaminanten_Acrylamidetc .pdf?__blob=publicationFile, accessed on 10 January 2018


Meet us at the Fruit Logistica in Berlin and the BioFach in Nuremberg

by Sabine Nest, GBA Laboratory Group

February has got it all! In February, two of the most important trade fairs in the food industry open their gates. First, there is the Fruit Logistica fair in Berlin from February 7th to 9th, 2018. This is an important date for anyone who is direct­ly involved in the fruit and vegetable sector at any point on the supply chain. One week later, from February 14th to 17th, 2018, the BioFach fair will be taking place in Nuremberg, which is the leading trade show worldwide for orga­nic products and related services.

We warmly invite you to visit us at our booth and join us for a specialty coffee. We are looking forward to having interesting conversations together and pre­senting you our comprehensive product portfolio. We’ll be by your side to pro­vide consulting and our services. Call now to set up an appointment. Get in touch with one of the following members of the GBA sales team or talk to your individual customer service representative.

Fruit Logistica, Hall 21, Stand A-09a:
Ms. Mareen Lehmann,

BioFach, Hall 9, Stand 559:
Ms. Julia Bartels,

For the first time, there will also be a careers meeting at the BioFach trade fair on February 15th, 2018 in Hall 9. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the special area called “Generation Future,” you will have the opportunity to gain insight into the possibilities for starting a career at the GBA Laboratory Group.

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