Frequently asked questions about chlorate in food

BfR FAQ of 15 February 2018

Due to repeated detections, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has assessed the health risks caused by chlorate in foods. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has updated its opinion on chlorate on this basis.

Chlorates are salts of chloric acid. Sodium and potassium chlorate used to be employed as herbicides but the use of plant protection and biocidal products containing chlorate is no longer permitted in the EU. Chlorate can occur, however, as a by-product when using chlorinated substances for cleaning or disinfection. According to the latest available findings, the likely entry path is the contact of foods with water that was previously treated with chlorinated biocidal products for disinfection purposes.

The BfR has compiled questions and answers on the subject.

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