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Algae leaves with harmful substances & too high iodine content

The Asian cuisine can hardly be without algae leaves. Here, they are often used for sushi variations or as a spicy ingredient in soups and salads. The most frequently used varieties are Nori and Wakame.

But algae absorb pollutants from the environment and accumulate them. The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) reported that algae leaves are often contaminated with pollutants.


These pollutants are found in algae leaves


High contents of the heavy metals cadmium, lead, arsenic and aluminium were detected in samples of algae leaves.

  • The concentration of cadmium exceeded in every tenth sample the legal maximum level of 3 mg/kg for the use of the dried algae in food supplements
  • There is currently no maximum level for lead in algae. The implementation of a maximum level is planned.
  • 42% of the samples contained inorganic arsenic, but in very low concentrations
  • The average aluminium content was 100 mg/kg. Since a small consumption quantity is to be assumed, there is no health risk here


Too high iodine content


Iodine belongs to the trace elements whose absorption in small quantities is necessary for the human body to build up thyroid hormones. An excessive intake of iodine can lead to over- and under-activity of the thyroid gland. According to the BfR, a maximum daily intake of 0.5 mg iodine is recommended and the intake of products containing more than 20 mg/kg represents a dangerous excess.

Three quarters of the samples tested contained more than 20 mg/kg iodine. Products containing these concentrations of iodine must contain a warning label indicating that an excessive intake of iodine may lead to thyroid dysfunction. In addition, the iodine content must be stated and an indication given of the maximum quantity to be consumed.


Safe products with bilacon


bilacon tests algae leaves for heavy metals and iodine to ensure that no limit values are exceeded and thus expensive product recalls can be avoided.

bilacon is also your competent partner for checking labelling. In this way, you prevent labelling failures and therefore complaints about your products.


Would you like to learn more about our services or do you have any further questions?

Our expert will be happy to help you.

Nicole Schröer
+49 30 206 038 133


 Source: BVL

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