Contamination, Adulteration and Counterfeiting: An Examination of Sources and Concentrations of Heavy Metals Present in Food, Spices, Beverages and Drinking Water

Monitoring for Contaminants in Foods & Beverages
Oral Presentation

Prepared by P. Atkins
SPEX CertiPrep, 203 Norcross Rd, Metuchen, NJ, 08840, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 732-623-0470


On a daily basis, the average person around the world is subjected to doses of heavy metals from a variety of sources. One of the most insidious sources of routes of exposure is through the food supply. The World Health Organization contends that food may be the source of the largest contribution to the intake of heavy metals (especially lead). Many foods may naturally contain heavy metal compounds, from either natural biochemical processes or from bioaccumulation from the environment. Other foods and beverages become contaminated by natural, agricultural or industrial sources of heavy metals. Finally there are food and beverage products which are intentionally adulterated or counterfeited with materials containing heavy metals. In this presentation, we will look at different sources of potential heavy metal exposure and their concentrations using studies conducted by ICP-OES, ICP-MS and LC-ICP-MS to determine the presence and content of heavy metals in a variety of food products including spices, herbal preparations, fish, and beverages. In addition to the original research presented, we will compare other historical studies and public health findings to showcase the sources and concentrations of various heavy metals found in the food and water supply in order to build a more complete picture of heavy metal exposure through food and beverages.