New Method for the Detection of Semicarbazide
Semicarbazide is a metabolite of nitrofurazone, an antibiotic that is banned from use within the EU. It was measured to detect illegal use of nitrofurazone until it became known that nitrofurazone is not the only source of semicarbazide in processed foods. It may also be formed by other reactions e.g. during a hypochlorite treatment, or it may be transferred from gaskets used in jars. Semicarbazide is a weak genotoxic and carcinogenic agent but its occurrence in baby food is a considerable concern.
JRC-IRMM and its collaborators have now developed a sensitive method to detect semicarbazide in different types of baby food at levels as low as 10 ng/g. The method was validated by an interlaboratory comparison.
The validated method was used to monitor semicarbazide in different baby food products produced in 11 European countries, purchased at local supermarkets in 14 Member States. According to the study the content of semicarbazide was low in most products but in some it reached even 50 ng/g. Now certain gasket materials have been phased out to ensure very low levels of semicarbazide in jarred baby food.
The studies have been reported in:
de la Calle, M. B. and Anklam, E., Semicarbazide: occurrence in food products and state-of-the-art in analytical methods used for its determination, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 382 (2005) 968-977
Szilagyi, S. and de la Calle, B., Development and validation of an analytical method for the determination of semicarbazide in fresh egg and in egg powder based o teh use of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, Analytica Chimica Acta 572 (2006) 113-120
de la Calle, M.B., and Szilagyi, S., Determination of semicarbazide in fresh egg and whole egg powder by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry: interlaboratory validation study, Journal of AOAC International 89 (2006) 1664-1671
Szilagyi, S. and de la Calle, B., Semicarbazide in baby food: a European Survey, European Food Research and Technology 224 (2006) 141-146
Ginn, R., Wilson, L., de Souza S.V.C., and de la Calle, M.B., Determination of semicarbazied in baby food by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry: interlaboratory validation study, Journal of AOAC International 89 (2006) 728-734