The European Commission has announced it will place new limits on the amount of cadmium permitted in some fruits, vegetables, cereals and oilseeds.
Cadmium is a heavy metal found both naturally in soil and as a byproduct of agricultural and industrial activities. For non-smokers, food is the main source of exposure to cadmium, which is also present in meat and dairy products.See Also: Health News
Maximum levels of cadmium in food products have existed in the European Union since 2001. These were last updated in 2014 when limits of cadmium in chocolate, infant formula, baby food and processed cereals were established. The new limits will come into force at the end of August.
“We know that an unhealthy diet increases the risk of cancer,” said Stella Kyriakides, Europe’s Health and Food Safety Commissioner. “[This] decision aims to put consumers at the forefront by making our food safer and healthier, as we pledged in the framework of the European plan to fight cancer.”
“It is also a further step in strengthening the European Union’s already high and world-class standards in the E.U. food chain and providing safer, healthier and more sustainable food to consumers, our citizens,” she added.
In high enough concentrations, cadmium can cause renal failure and bone demineralization, resulting in an increased risk of lung, bladder, endometrium and breast cancer. Vegetarians have a higher exposure to this metal, as they consume more plant-based foods.