Fish fillets contaminated with chlorate

In the recent past, increased levels of chlorate residues in fish products, such as pangasius fillets, have been repeatedly detected. Due to the level of the residues, health impairments, especially in persons with thyroid diseases, cannot be ruled out, which is why affected products must be recalled as a precautionary measure.

In the past, chlorates were used as pesticides to control weeds. However, the use of plant protection products containing chlorates has been banned in the EU for several years. Chlorate is rather produced when drinking water is treated with chlorine-containing agents, which are used to wash foodstuffs. Another entry route is the use of chlorinated cleaning and disinfecting agents in food production. Chlorate is thus repeatedly detected as a contaminant in food.


The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) recommends a health assessment using the acute reference dose (ARfD) of 0.036 mg/kg body weight published by EFSA as a safety assessment in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 (Food Basis Regulation) until specific maximum levels have been set at EU level. However, for chlorate residues in infant and young child food, the maximum level of 0,01 mg/kg for the edible product shall continue to apply.

A project is currently underway at European level to establish specific limit values within the framework of Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 (Pesticide Maximum Content Regulation), which is expected to be adopted at the end of this year.

Analytics at ifp

The determination of chlorate and perchlorate is carried out in our laboratory in a single method using the QuPPe method (Quick Polar Pesticides Method) and LC-MS/MS with a determination limit of 0.01 mg/kg.

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