Food and feed safety assessment of green peas grown in an arseniccontaminated area

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Authors: Szilvia Várallyay, Andrea Balláné Kovács, Áron Soós, Béla Kovács

1. Summary 

Both natural and anthropogenic arsenic contaminations of soil and groundwater are a global problem for all parts of the world, in terms of which, in Hungary, primarily the Great Plain region is affected. Through growing plants on arsenic-contaminated soil, arsenic can enter the food chain, which can mean a serious food safety risk. In Hungary, more than 70% of the vegetable growing areas are located in the Great Plain area affected by natural arsenic contamination. Green peas, the food industrial significance of which is due to the many forms of processing, among other things, are the second most common vegetable, in terms of the growing area. Based on this, the objective of our work was to determine the changes in the arsenic contents of the different plant parts (stem, leaf, pea pod, pea seeds) of green peas grown on arsenic-treated soil. Based on the results obtained, it was investigated how big a food and feed safety risk green peas grown in such areas pose. The effect of soil arsenic contamination on the arsenic uptake of green peas was investigated using pot experiments. During the experiments, arsenic was used separately as As(III) and As(V). In our work, arsenic treatments of 0, 3, 10, 30, 90 and 270 mg/kg were applied. Based on the results it can be concluded that, compared to the BMDL0,5 value determined by the WHO, in none of the cases did the percentage contribution of the consumption of green peas from arseniccontaminated areas to different tumor diseases (pulmonary, bladder and skin cancer) exceed 0.46%. The 2 mg/kg limit value of FVM decree 44/2003. (IV. 26.) on the compulsory regulations of the Hungarian Feed Code regarding undesirable contaminations of feeds [30] for arsenic was exceeded by the measured values for both arsenic forms and for all doses, with the exception of the control experiment in the case of the stem, and the control experiment and the lowest concentration treatment (3 mg/kg) in the case of the leaves. As for the pea pods, As contents above 2 mg/kg were found in the case of the 270 mg/kg treatments, however, in the case of the As(V) treatment, the As content of the pea pods, following a 90 mg/kg dose, was very close to the above mentioned limit value. There has been no limit value designated for foods in the European Union regarding arsenic contamination, because currently there is no database describing the toxicities of organic and inorganic forms of arsenic in the different food groups [29].



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