A reality about our food supply is that metals, such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and others – are present in certain foods. These elements occur naturally and as environmental pollutants in air, water and soil and they enter the food supply when plants take them up as they grow.
The FDA actively monitors the levels of these metals because at high levels they can be toxic and present a unique danger to those who are the most vulnerable: our children. The agency is working to reduce the health risks that these elements present and last year established a workgroup of food safety experts to help shape what FDA will do to protect consumers of all ages from these metals when present in foods.
The workgroup is led by Conrad Choiniere, Ph.D., director of the Office of Analytics and Outreach at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. As this team approaches its six-month mark, Dr. Choiniere discusses why this work is important and why it matters to him and his colleagues.