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Wissen, was drin ist.


February 2018

• Annex I of the Pesticide Regulation Replaced
• Dietary Supplements
• Environmental Contaminants
   in Focus: Cyanide

• Events in the Field of Environmental Analysis


Dear Readers,

in the field of foodstuff analysis, the February issue of our Newsletter provides you with information concerning the latest requirements of Annex I of the Pesticide Regulation as well as the extensive topic of dietary supplements. In the environmental sector, our series on contaminants continues this month with an article about cyanide. Furthermore, we also let you know about the opportunity to meet the GBA Laboratory Group in person at two pertinent environmental events. If you have any questions or com­ments for us, please feel free to email us at: .

Enjoy reading!
Your GBA Laboratory Group 


Annex I of the Pesticide Regulation Replaced

by Mareen Lehmann, GBA Laboratory Group

With the release of the Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/62 of 17 January 2018 replacing Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, the project to imple­ment comprehensive change to this product group has now been completed. Among other changes, new types of goods are now included in Annex I to the Regulation, explanatory notes have been added (e.g. concerning the validity of the Maximum Residue Level, MRL), and some classifications and footnotes have been changed. Due to the comprehensive changes, Annex I has been completely replaced.[1]

In January, we reported on the changes to the regulations concerning radish leaves. Now we would like to draw attention to further changes:[1]

The product group “rice” has been specified more precisely and the MRL applies to “husked rice” (brown rice). Consequently, processed rice must be assessed using a processing factor.
“Chia seeds” have been assigned to the product group “buckwheat and other pseudo-cereals” and “moringa leaves” are now listed under the product group “mate/maté.”
“Ginger” is now found twice in Annex I of the Regulation, both in Part A as a rhizome spice and in Part B under the product group “horseradishes.” The new MRL for ginger root (Annex I, Part B, identical to the MRL for horseradish) is valid starting on January 1st, 2020, taking into account a processing factor in accordance with Article 20, paragraph 1 of Regulation (EC) no 396/2005.

The Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/62 went into force on February 12th, 2018, yet applies retroactively starting January 1st, 2018.

At the GBA Laboratory Group, we have made it our task to inform you about changes to legal regulations. If you have any questions, please contact your individual customer service representative, or:

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


[1] Bund für Lebensmittelrecht und Lebensmittelkunde e. V., BLL-Rundschreiben 050-2018 vom 24.01.2018


Dietary Supplements: New Maximum Levels for Vitamins and Minerals

by Julia Bartels, GBA Laboratory Group

Dietary supplements are very popular and in high demand among German con­sumers. Approximately one third of adults use dietary supplements on a regular basis, and about one quarter of those people use more than one product per day. Dietary supplements are more frequently consumed by women than by men, in particular by people over 35 years of age and with higher levels of edu­cation. Even people who maintain healthier lifestyles and balanced diets have been displaying great interest in dietary supplements. Overall Germany is one of the largest markets for dietary supplements in Europe, with approximately one billion euros in total revenue from April 2013 to March 2014, with sales trending upwards.[1,2]

In addition to vitamins and minerals, these products often contain other sub­stances that have physiological effects, such as amino acids, fatty acids, plant extracts, and microorganisms. The product packaging promises the consumers several benefits to their health and well-being, as well as improved performan­ce. However, taking more does not always help more. Fundamentally, a healthy body is already provided with all of the vital nutrients simply by maintaining a balanced and varied diet. Ingesting highly dosed dietary supplements and nutri­ent-enriched food products increases the risk of adverse health effects that re­sult from an excess supply of nutrients.[1,2]

Legal limits for the added substances have not yet been established on a natio­nal level in Germany or on a European level. However, in Germany and in other EU countries, several models for deriving maximum levels have been develo­ped and discussed over the last few years. Based upon this background infor­mation, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) reexamined its maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in dietary supplements in 2004, up­dating them to reflect the current level of scientific knowledge. The results have been published in the Journal of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (DOI 10.1007/s00003-017-1140-y).[1,2]

The BfR determined maximum levels that were derived from three substantial factors: the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) derived by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the amounts of vitamins and minerals that are consu­med with the standard diet, and the corresponding reference levels (Recom­mended Daily Allowance, RDA). Products that comply with the recommended BfR limits and are taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions, according to the current state of knowledge, should not pose a health risk due to exces­sive nutrient consumption for consumers of at least 15 years of age. Further­more they provide an adequate means of supplementing the diet for people with low nutrient intake. The risk of exceeding the ULs is not significantly increased even for consumers with adequate nutrient intake. Additionally, the BfR recom­mends mandating certain declarations on the product or the packaging for indi­vidual vitamins and minerals. These in­dividual vitamins and minerals as well as the corresponding recommendations for mandatory declarations can also be found in the Journal of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (DOI 10.1007/ s00003-017-1140-y). Furthermore, the BfR also points out that new scientific evidence and future market developments could potentially make it necessary to adjust the recommended maximum levels and that the recommendations for maximum levels could serve as the basis for establishing legal regulations.[1,2]

The analysis of vitamins and minerals as well as other nutrients has been an established part of the GBA Laboratory Group’s portfolio of testing methods for many years and we are glad to serve as your expert partner in this field. If you have any questions about this or any other topic, then please contact your in­dividual customer service representative at the GBA Laboratory Group, or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Julia Bartels
Tel: +49 (0)40 797172-0


[1] _und_mineralstoffe_in_nahrungsergaenzungsmitteln-203269.html, accessed on 09 February 2018
[2], accessed on 09 February 2018


Environmental Contaminants in Focus: Cyanide

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

Cyanides are salts of hydrogen cyanide (HCN), also known as hydrocyanic acid or prussic acid. Pure hydrocyanic acid is a highly flammable liquid with a boiling point of 25.7°C and is also highly volatile due to its relatively high vapor pres­sure. Furthermore, in addition to having a characteristic odor, which is perceived by many people as being bitter and almond-like, it displays a high toxicity. The toxicity is a result of the complexing of the trivalent iron of cytochrome oxidase. As a result, the reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+ and the subsequent oxidation of the cytochrome iron are inhibited, thus restricting the oxygen supply of the blood­stream and to the tissue it circulates through, preventing intracellular respiration (“internal suffocation”).
The cyanide ions (CN-) contained in the hydrocyanic acids are easily released and quite water soluble in combination with alkali me­tals and alkaline earth me­tals, which is why they are commonly found in the environment. Among the cyanide compounds that are easily released, there are also the weak complex cyanides of cadmium, zinc, silver, and copper. In contrast, strong cyano com­plexes are formed with other metals such as iron, cobalt, and gold, whereas nickel complexes take on an intermediate position.  A complex that is well known for its characteristic blue color is Prussian blue (iron hexacyanoferrate). The strong cyano complexes are fundamentally insoluble in water and not easily released, which means as a result they are less commonly found in the environment. The toxicity of these complexes significantly depends on the indi­vidual metal cation, the environmental conditions, as well as the pH value of the surroundings, which, when taken altogether, is decisive for the release of cyanide ions.

Aside from the inorganic compounds, cyanide also occurs in organic com­pounds. The cyano groups that are contained within them occur in small amounts naturally in some plants, including food products (e.g. almonds and the cores of plums and apricots), as cyanogenic glycosides. Approximately 10,000 plant species with cyanogenic glycosides are known today. However, these amounts are not relevant for the environment.[1] Significant amounts are gene­rated industrially through the catalytic conversion of ammonia with methane, pul­verized coal, or carbon monoxide. Alkali cyanides are utilized to treat gold and silver ores (cyanidation), to harden the surface of steel (carbonitriding), as well as for electroplating (alkaline cyanide baths for copper, silver, gold, etc.). Furthermore, cyanides are formed as an undesired byproduct in the processes of iron-making and coke production. Cyanides are also commonly found on for­mer gasworks sites. In this case, they are generally a result of the gas purifica­tion process and occur as structurally complex Prussian blue.[1]

Cyanide, which is released into the environment in various ways, is potentially dangerous depending on its complexation, which is why it is included in the spectrum of analyses when evaluating soil samples. A distinction is made bet­ween the easily released cyanides and total cyanide. The testing is carried out according to DIN EN ISO 17380.[2] The extraction is conducted in an alkaline environment and takes 16 hours. The resulting extracts are complexed and the colored complex is analyzed quantitatively by means of continuous flow analy­sis (CFA). This process allows the easily released cyanides and the total cya­nide to be determined. The difference is calculated as complexed cyanide. The German interstate working group for waste (LAGA) issued a statement decla­ring assignment values for easily released cyanides and for the total cyanide, both in the eluate and for the total cyanide in the soil.[3]

In the context of LAGA testing, the GBA Laboratory Group has been conducting cyanide analyses in a wide variety of matrices as part of our routine operations for many years, always using state-of-the-art equipment and methods. At the same time, GBA continues to monitor the latest developments in this field. We continuously update and further expand the list of the analytes that we test in the various fields of environmental or food analysis to meet new and growing demands, so that we can serve as the expert consultant by your side. If you have any questions about this or any other topic, we will gladly assist you.

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


[1], accessed on 12 December 2017
[2] DIN EN ISO 17380:2013-10; Bodenbeschaffenheit - Bestimmung des Gehalts an Gesamtcyanid und leicht freisetzbarem Cyanid - Verfahren mittels kontinuierlicher Durchflussanalyse
[3], accessed on 13 December 2017


Events in the Field of Environmental Analysis

by Sabine Nest, GBA Laboratory Group

At the GBA Laboratory Group, our calendars are circled with two can’t-miss events coming up. On March 2nd-3rd, 2018, meet us in Berlin at the Hotel Mari­tim for the 24th Demolition Conference. With its 115 exhibitors and approxima­tely 900 participants, the conference is the largest event for demolition and re­moval in Europe. We will gladly provide you with an overview of our compre­hensive product portfolio and serve as your expert partner for analyzing struc­tures, either for renovation or demolition projects.

On March 8th-9th, 2018, the ITVA e.V. (Technical Engineering Association for Contaminated Site Management and Land Recycling) – in cooperation with the Ministry for Environment, Energy, Food, and Forestry of the German state Rhi­neland-Palatinate – is hosting the ITVA Contaminated Site Symposium at the Kurfürstliches Schloss in the city of Mainz. In addition to the interesting presen­tations and fascinating podium discussions, there will also be a trade show accom­panying the symposium. The GBA Laboratory Group will also have a booth here to present our services. Visit us here in person and find out more about our wide spectrum of analyses in the field of contaminated sites.

For further questions or to schedule an appointment with us at the Demolition Conference or ITVA Symposium, please contact Mr. Franz Bogler () and he will gladly assist you.

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