Analysis of tea and herbs for pyrrolizidine alkaloids

BfR recommends reduction of pyrrolizidine alkaloid contents in all food groups Maximum levels are discussed at EU level

In the current statement 026/2020 of the BfR of 17 June 2020 on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in foodstuffs, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) describes the successful reduction of PA contents in various foodstuffs such as various teas, but also recommends that efforts to reduce PA contents should be continued.

It is therefore very important for companies that produce, process or trade products potentially containing PAs to monitor and, if possible, reduce PA content. Herbs/spices and herbal-based dietary supplements should be particularly in focus. These matrices have not yet been included in the current risk assessment. However, the available data indicate that these food groups, despite the comparatively low consumption quantities, contribute considerably to long-term and also short-term exposure due to the partly very high PA contents.

News is also expected from the EU. The draft regulation on the maximum levels of PAs in various foodstuffs has been submitted for vote. If the draft is adopted, there will be two years left until the regulation comes into effect. The scope of the PAs considered by BfR corresponds to the scope of PA discussed by the EU work group.


QSI has been analysing pyrrolizidine alkaloids in a variety of matrices since 2008 and advises producers, processors and trade on this topic.


If you have any questions about pyrrolizidine alkaloids do not hesitate to contact us:


Tel: +49 (0)421 / 59 66 070


Bremen, 18.06.2020                                


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