eJournal ISSN 2196-3460

»Year 2023, Volume 15, Pages 1–14

Analysis of Analytically Challenging Compounds – Including Toxicologically Critical Pesticides and Metabolites – in Infant Formulae and Milk from the EU/EFTA-Market

A.-K. Schäfer, E. Scherbaum, N. Ebert, A. Barth, D. Mack, C. Wildgrube & M. Anastassiades*

* Corresponding author: Dr. Michelangelo Anastassiades, email: michelangelo.anastassiades@cvuas.bwl.de, tel.: +49 711 3426 1124
Available online: 13 January 2023
DOI: 10.48414/aspects2023/15
Keywords: Infant food, Baby food, Infant formula, Milk, Pesticides residues, Toxic pesticides, Contaminants, Single residue methods (SRM), Food safety, Food monitoring, Health-based guidance value (HBGV), QuEChERS, QuPPe


For pesticide residues in infant food, including infant formulae, a low default maximum residue level of 0.01 mg/kg currently applies to protect this sensitive consumer group from health risks arising from the intake of pesticides. For a small number of toxicologically critical pesticides, however, MRLs that are even lower than this default value have been established within the existing regulation to ensure food safety. Nevertheless, there are still several additional toxicologically critical pesticides with acceptable daily intake values below the health-based guidance value of 0.0026 mg/kg body weight per day that was established by EFSA in 2018, for which this default MRL may not be sufficiently protective. The aim of this study was to check the analytical feasibility of monitoring these additional critical pesticides at or below levels considered to be toxicologically safe, as this would facilitate the establishment of specific MRLs for infant formulae. The current study dealt with the analysis of 13 of those highly toxic pesticides (or their metabolites) that are not amenable to standard multi-residue methods. Additional compounds deemed relevant to milk products were also included in the project. Beyond infant formulae, milk was included, as it is a basic source of many infant formulae ingredients. The study comprised method development and validation of the concerned compounds in both types of commodities, followed by a pilot monitoring of 80 samples of infant formulae for children up to 16 weeks of age, and 54 samples of milk, to elucidate the current residue situation. Of the 13 compounds with high toxicity, none was detected in the analysed samples, except nicotine, which was detected at non-critical trace levels in more than 70 % of the samples. However, the additionally analysed compounds were frequently detected, especially chlorate, perchlorate and phosphonic acid. Overall, the results of this study revealed, that, according to the present state of knowledge, the intake of the targeted compounds through infant formulae consumption does not pose appreciable health risks to infants.


Supplementary material

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