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Wissen, was drin ist.


September 2016

•  EU Implements Ban on Flame Reterdant HBCD
•  Maximum Residue Levels Change
for Pesticides
•  Food Information Regulation

•  Zinc
•  COTECA & DOGK 2016
•  GBA Laboratory Group Expands
•  GBA Represented in presidency of
    Laboratory Association


Dear Readers,

welcome to our September newsletter containing current and interesting subjects for you about our analytical services. If you have any questions about these or other topics or if there are other matters that you would like to have addressed in one of our next newsletters then please, send us an email at .

Enjoy reading!
Your GBA Laboratory Group 


EU Implements Ban on Flame Retardant HBCD

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

Due to its high mobility and persistence, the flame retardant hexabromo­cyclododecane (HBCD) was identified as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) and added to the Stockholm Convention [1] in 2013 (Newsletter No. 10 June 2014). Since being identified as a POP, the ban has been implemented step by step in all of the state parties to the Stockholm Convention. In the European Union, the ban has been implemented via Annex I of the POP Regulation (EC) No 850/2004.[2]

Since March 22nd, 2016 products (substances, composites, and final products) with an HBCD content of more than 100 mg/kg can no longer be produced or placed on the market in the EU. However, remaining inventories were allowed to be sold and utilized during a transitional period lasting until June 22nd, 2016. Beyond that date, insulating materials made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) with HBCD may be produced and utilized in buildings in the EU if the producer is in possession of a permit from the European chemical regulation REACH. The same is valid for HBCD insulating materials that are imported from outside the EU. This exemption is scheduled to end on February 21st, 2018.[3]

As of September 30th, 2016, materials containing HBCD in quantities above 1,000 mg/kg are precluded from being recycled (destruction mandate according to Article 7 (2) of the POP regulation).[4] This is done with the goal of removing POPs from the economic cycle. Whether or not an individual insulating material contains HBCD can only be determined by conducting an analysis.

The destruction mandate is fulfilled by the thermal treatment in the waste incineration facilities. With an amendment to the German waste directory regulation (AVV – Abfallverzeichnis-Verordnung)[5] on March 11th, 2016, HBCD was classified as a dangerous substance in terms of the AVV. The disposal code 17 06 03* “other insulating material, that is composed of dangerous substances or contains such substances” should be used from now on. Each incineration facility must check with their authorization catalogue whether an alteration license is required as stated in §16 of the German Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG), or if an announcement as per §15 BImSchG is sufficient.

The determination of a wide variety of organic and inorganic flame retardants in diverse matrices has been a part of the GBA Laboratory Group’s analytical portfolio for many years. In addition to testing insulating materials and electrical/electronic products, we also can determine trace amounts of this substance group in sediment, water, soil, and biota samples. Furthermore, we will continue to follow the developments in the market for you, so that we may provide you with competent help and advice in this field.

If you have any questions, we are gladly available to help.

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

[1] /TheNewPOPs/ tabid/2511/ Default.aspx
[2] %3A02004R0850-20160322;from=EN; Accessed on 19.09.2016
[3] hexabromcyclododecan_hbcd_ antworten_auf_haeufig_gestellte_fragen.pdf; Accessed on 19 Sept 2016
[4];from=DE; Accessed on 19.09.2016
[5]; Accessed on 19.09.2016


Changes to Maximum Residue Levels for Pesticides Without Transitional Period

by Mareen Lehmann, GBA Laboratory Group

In changes to maximum residue levels, the EU Commission specifies a transitional period in the individual amendment regulations. This means that products that were made before the date of validity for the amendment must comply with the original maximum levels. All food that is produced after this date must comply with the new maximum residue levels. This year, there have been 2 amendments that have not allowed for this transitional period for certain active agents in certain products.

Fluazifop-P is an herbicide that is meant to curb the growth of annual and perennial weeds among many cultivated crops. In Germany and Austria, the active agent is allowed in herbicide products. The European Food Safety Authority had expressed concerns about the previous maximum levels in bell peppers, tomatoes, head cabbages, and fresh beans without pods, which is why the maximum residue levels for these products are being reduced to the analytical limit of detection.[1] With Regulation (EU) 2016/1015 from June 2016, there are now changes to the maximum levels for several active agents, including fluazifop-P, in or on certain food products. If the date of production is before January 19th, 2017, then the previous maximum levels stated in Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 still apply. However, residue from fluazifop-P in peppers is excluded from this transitional arrangement. In this case, the new value of 0.01 mg/kg will be valid immediately.[1]

With the Regulation (EU) 2016/60, chlorpyrifos-ethyl is another active agent whose maximum residue level was reduced without authorizing a corresponding transitional arrangement.[1] Processed goods with long shelf lives (or with processed ingredients such as sultanas in the final product) could be legally problematic to deal with. For goods were harvested by 2015, at that time there was neither a regulation to change the maximum levels nor a finalized draft of the intentions of the regulation. When member states inquired about this special case, the EU Commission responded with the “proportionate enforcement action” for dried grapes and products containing dried grapes, because the evaluation of the data on content and consumption has shown that the chlorpyrifos-ethyl residue detected in dried grapes poses no health risk to the consumer. It was left up to the EU member states to determine how they deal with this issue more specifically. In Germany, the issue was discussed by the individual federal states in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). However, unlike other countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, the German authorities have signalized that there will not be a transitional agreement in this case, so the corresponding maximum levels must be complied with as soon as the regulation goes into effect on August 10th, 2016.[2]

If you have any questions about this or other topics in the field of foodstuff or environmental analysis, then please contact your individual account manager at the GBA Laboratory Group, or:

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

[1], Accessed on 15.09.2016
[2] Bund für Lebensmittelrecht und Lebensmittelkunde e.V., BLL Rundschreiben BLL-422-2016, Accessed on 22.07.2016


Food Information Regulation – Nutrition Labeling Mandatory as of December 2016

by Anika Prause and Mareen Lehmann, GBA Laboratory Group

After a time limit of 2 years, the transitional period – as stated in article 54, paragraph 1 of the Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers – will expire on December 13th, 2016. Therefore, according to article 9, paragraph 1, letter L, the mandatory values for the nutrition declaration must be placed on virtually all food packaging in the future. There are a few exemptions to these labeling requirements, such as herbs, spices, salt, or foodstuff in packages or containers whose largest surface has an area of less than 25 cm². Further food products that are exempt from the nutrition declaration requirement are listed in Annex V of the regulation. The reason for the exceptions is given in recital 39 of the regulation, which states that it is not mandatory to provide a nutrition declaration for certain foods if they are not processed, if the nutritional value is not a decisive factor for the consumers’ purchase, or if the packaging is too small. According to article 54, paragraph 1, sentence 2 of the food information regulation, foods that are placed on the market or labeled before December 13th, 2016 may continue to be sold even if their food labeling does not comply with the regulations. However, this is only valid until the current stocks are exhausted.

The nutrition declaration must be provided in tabular form. If there is a lack of space, the obligatory declarations for the energy value, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugar, protein, and salt may be listed one after another in exactly this order. The table can be expanded with information concerning monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, alcoholic strength, starch, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, vitamins and minerals must be present in significant amounts in order to be listed on the labeling. The nutrition information must be expressed per 100 g or per 100 ml, but in addition to this, they may be expressed per portion or per consumption unit.

Declaration checks are part of the routine processes at the GBA Laboratory Group in the field of foodstuff analysis. We will gladly check your current packaging or new labels to see if they conform with the changes in the food information regulation. We look forward to receiving your inquiry.

Please, contact your individual account manager at the GBA Laboratory Group or:

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

[1] EUR-Lex,, Accessed on 16.09.2016


Zinc – Essential Metal or Harmful Substance?

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

Zinc is a chemical element with the symbol “Zn” and the atomic number 30. It is one of the transition metals and, together with the metals cadmium and mercury, comprises group 12 of the periodic table. It is a light blue-gray, brittle metal and is used to galvanize iron and steel parts and for rain gutters.

Zinc is essential for all living beings and is a component of important enzymes (there are over 300 metalloproteins containing zinc). The total amount in the human body is 1.5 – 3.0 g and the daily intake value of an adult is 10 – 20 mg. This is absorbed through the diet. Foods with high zinc content include oysters, certain kinds of cheese such as Camembert, soft cheese, and Emmental, cereals such as oatmeal, millet, cornflakes, and wheat, as well as green peas, dried lentils, cacao, and nuts. A lack of zinc can inhibit growth and sexual development, lead to disorders in one’s sense of taste and smell, to lack of motivation, concentration disorders, and even depression. Consuming more than 100 mg zinc per day is not recommended. If over 200 mg zinc are consumed per day, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea can arise.

Zinc: A Harmful Substance in the Soil 

Zinc is also a natural component in the soil. Representing 0.0076% of the Earth’s crust, zinc is more common than copper or lead. The natural zinc content in the soil is about 80mg per kg. Soil contamination only appears when this value is exceeded, whereas the availability of zinc increases strongly when the soil pH is below 6. High levels of zinc in the soil can arise from power plant dust, the metal processing industry, and also sewage sludge. Garbage can sometimes also carry high amounts of zinc. For this reason, allocation values for zinc are provided in announcement 20 from the German association LAGA (Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Abfall).[1] This is meant to prevent contamination arising from unrestricted depositing of waste that contains zinc. Similarly, the German Soil Protection Regulation (Bundesbodenschutzverordnung) provided corresponding test values for plants and groundwater in order to track the trail of effects.[2]

Elevated levels of zinc in the soil can cause reactions in plants such as growth disorders in the roots and impaired photosynthesis (iron deficiency). The plant absorbs the zinc instead of iron, thus blocking the photosynthetic processes. In animals, a high zinc intake impairs the absorption of important dietary minerals like calcium and copper. As a result, bone development can be impaired.

If you have questions about this or other topics in the fields of environmental or foodstuff analysis then please, get in touch with your individual account manager at the GBA Laboratory Group or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Mr. Ralf Murzen
Tel: +49 (0)4101 7946-0


[1] Mitteilung der Länderarbeitsgemeinschaft Abfall (LAGA) 20 – Anforderungen an die stoffliche Verwertung von mineralischen Reststoffen/Abfällen – Technische Regeln, Accessed on 06.11.2003
[2] Bundes-Bodenschutz- und Altlastenverordnung (BBodSchV), Anhang 2, Pkt. 2.4 und 3.1, Accessed on 12.07.1999


A Look Back at COTECA and DOGK 2016

Both, the COTECA in Hamburg (September 7th-9th, 2016) and the German Fruit & Vegetable Congress (DOGK) in Düsseldorf (September 15th, 2016) once again offered interesting platforms for specialized trade. We would like to provide a brief summary for everyone who was not able to participate in these events.

As a trade fair for coffee, tea, and cacao, the COTECA is the main meeting point in Europe that unites all three fields of business. In cooperation with the Kaffee Campus der Deutschen Röstergilde (“Coffee Campus” of the German Coffee Roasters Guild), the COTECA fair represented the entire spectrum of coffee, tea, and cacao. With almost 200 exhibitors from more than 40 nations and about 3,600 visitors, the trade fair can be considered a complete success. More exhibitors, more visitors, lots of business discussions, and a great atmosphere at the stands, that’s how the organizers have summed up the results. As an exhibitor, the trade show was also a success for the GBA Laboratory Group, because it once again presented us with the opportunity to have a direct dialogue with our clients and to make many new contacts.

German Fruit & Vegetable Congress (DOGK) 2016
From the seeds to the point of sale (POS) – at the one-day conference in Düsseldorf, presentations were held on current topics concerning the entire supply chain. As a silver level sponsor, the GBA Laboratory Group supported the event in between the lectures, providing the visitors with plenty of espresso from our coffee stand. These efforts were already met with a very positive response last year. So this year, once again, we were able to further develop our business relationships with our customers and establish new relationships as well. 


GBA Laboratory Group Expands with Acquisition of ABF Pharmaceutical Services GmbH

This year in July, we successfully acquired ABF Pharmaceutical Services GmbH, located in Vienna, Austria, as an expansion to our Pharmaceutical Division and its service portfolio. ABF is an internationally operating company with more than 10 years of experience in the production and logistics of clinical trial supplies and central lab supply services. ABF’s comprehensive range of services also includes services in the fields of GMP consulting, GMP audits, import/export, QP consulting, QP release, QA consulting. The company’s customer base consists of large pharmaceutical producers but also medium-sized or smaller biotech companies and CROs.

In addition to acquiring another location in Austria, for the GBA Laboratory Group, this expansion represents an opportunity to take advantage of further synergies, enabling us to provide our customers with an even more comprehensive range of services: one-stop shopping for analytical services.

Take a look for yourself at:

We gladly welcome our new colleagues at ABF Pharmaceutical Services GmbH to the GBA Laboratory Group.


GBA Laboratory Group Now Represented in presidency of the Laboratory Association VUP

The GBA Laboratory Group is now represented within the governing body of the German Association for Independent Test Laboratories (VUP – Deutscher Verband Unabhängiger Prüflaboratorien e.V.). At the general assembly on September 8th, 2016, Dr. Andreas Hofmann from our location in Neu-Ulm – Phytos Labor für Analytik von Arzneimitteln GmbH & Co. KG – was elected to the five-person team. For the next two years, Dr. Sven Steinhauer of our laboratory site in Hameln will take over the presidency of the northern entrepreneur´s circle. The focus for this period of time will be placed on strengthening the attractiveness and the clout of the laboratory association, which has grown strongly in recent years. Especially in terms of politics, government agencies, and public relations, more should be done to represent the needs and interests of the members, which now comprise over 600 businesses. Furthermore, the service for the members will be improved continually.

VUP represents the interests of the licensed service laboratories in Germany. About 80% of the companies in the sector are members of this business association. The members conduct chemical, physical, and biological analyses and offer expert consulting and appraisals. The association was founded in 1994 and is based in Berlin. Further information about the association can be found at: .

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