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Journal of food protection

Content of Cadmium and Lead in Vegetables and Fruits Grown in the Campania Region of Italy.


PMID 26319733

Abstract

Illegal practices of waste combustion and their burial in some land devoted to agricultural crops caused a severe economic crisis of the agriculture and food sector in the Campania region of Italy. To assess the levels of contamination by lead and cadmium, the only metals subject to European Union legislation, a system of monitoring of plant foods in the whole territory of the region has been promoted, with the goal of certifying productions and consumer protection. In fact, products that comply with European Union standards are assigned a Quick Response Code, which guarantees the traceability of the product (manufacturer and location). The code also ensures the safety of the product, as it allows the consumer to see the results of the analysis performed on the specific chain of production. The content of lead and cadmium was determined in 750 vegetable samples by using the atomic absorption spectrophotometry after microwave mineralization. These levels were below the maximum limits in all but three samples; two samples of tomatoes exceeded the maximum level of cadmium, and one sample of valerian contained an excess of lead.