Food is one of the essential parts of our lives, and research examining toxins in food is critical to ensure the safety of our diet. Specifically, research examining methodology for examining arsenic uptake in foods is important, because it allows us to get accurate information about levels of potentially toxic substances in our diet and make informed choices about methods for food safety protocols.
Historically, arsenic analysis examined total arsenic levels in food. However, with the recent rise in interest concerning arsenical compounds in food, there has been a push for examination of differences between dietary levels of inorganic arsenic species and the less toxic arsenic species. Very little arsenic speciation in food products has been done in the past, so this analysis is relatively new, and techniques are still being refined and standardized. This standardization of methods is important, because it will enable labs across the country to use identical protocols for arsenic speciation, thus increasing the consistency of the results and allowing researchers to determine more accurate estimates of inorganic arsenic content in food.
This type of standardization could also decrease the cost of arsenic analysis by allowing optimized, consistent methodology. Lower costs associated with arsenic speciation would increase accessibility to smaller companies, and allow a greater number of products to be tested.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been active in developing inorganic arsenic level recommendations, and it is possible that regulations for inorganic arsenic levels will be developed in the future. Standardized methods for determining levels of this chemical class are critically needed to ensure that companies are able to get accurate, cost-effective knowledge about the arsenic content of their products so that they can ensure consumer safety.