The European Commission has set new maximum levels for lead and cadmium in a range of food products, in an effort to protect public health. The measures aim to further reduce the presence of carcinogenic contaminants in food and to make healthy food more accessible. The new limits will be applied to food products of different types, ranging from beverages such as wine, to foods including fruits, vegetables, cereals and oilseeds.

Safer Phosphates believes the new measures will help to minimise the impact of cadmium on human health.

Regarding the decision to reduce the maximum levels of cadmium and lead traditionally allowed in a wide range of food products, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, stated: "We know that an unhealthy diet increases the risk of cancer. Today's decision aims to put consumers first by making our food healthier and safer, as we have committed to doing in Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan."

The EU Commissioner stressed that cadmium is a toxic heavy metal present in the environment, both naturally and as a result of agricultural and industrial activities. She specified that as a result of this legislation, for some foods, such as fruit, vegetables, cereals and oil seeds, the maximum levels of cadmium potentially present in these foods will be reduced.

The decision approved by the European Commission is the result of a mutual agreement between all the Member States. The measure was also supported by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and various food companies.

The annex to Regulation (EC) no. 1881/2006, which defines the maximum levels of cadmium in a series of food products, will therefore be amended in accordance with the Commission’s new Regulation (EU) 2021/1323. Food products listed in the annex, regularly placed on the market before entry into force of the new regulation, can remain on the market until February 28, 2022.