Frequently asked questions about perchlorate in food

Updated BfR FAQ of 15 February 2018

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

Perchlorates are salts of perchloric acid. Perchlorate occurrences in the environment are mainly of anthropogenic origin, i.e. they are caused by humans, although perchlorate can also occur naturally in mineral storage sites in several countries. Unlike several chlorates, perchlorates have never been approved as a pesticidal or biocidal active substance in the EU. Perchlorate can occur, however, as a by-product when using chlorinated substances for cleaning or disinfection. According to the latest findings, the main entry path is probably 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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