The regulation, known as Commission Regulation (EU) No. 709/2014, permits use of gas chromatograph-triple stage quadrupole mass spectrometers (GC-MS/MS) for confirmation.
European laboratories testing feed and food for dioxins and dioxin-like substances now have lower-cost, smaller-footprint alternatives to high-resolution mass spectrometers (HRMS) for confirming levels of the toxic contaminants, thanks to a new European Union regulation.
EU regulations previously permitted the use of GC-MS/MS only to screen samples for dioxins, a group of persistent organic chemicals that can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. Benchtop GC-MS/MS instruments are widely used throughout the analytical community, compared to floor-standing GC-HRMS systems, which are used for more specialized applications.
“Recent advances in GC triple quadrupole MS technology allow it to be used as a tool to reliably measure these substances at the maximum permitted levels controlled by EU regulations,” said Dr. Esteban Abad- Holgado, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Scientificas (CSIC); Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Abad-Holgado is a leading researcher of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and a key contributor to the new EU regulation. “GC-HRMS magnetic sector technology continues to be the gold standard for analyzing the lowest levels of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, but GC-MS/MS systems work very well for food safety testing for dioxins at EU levels.”
Dr. Abad-Holgado worked with Thermo Fisher to evaluate the recently introduced Thermo Scientific TSQ 8000 Evo GC-MS/MS system in light of the new regulation, using samples previously analyzed using GC-HRMS.
“For laboratories that still require the highest levels of performance, we offer an excellent GC-HRMS instrument,” said Paul Silcock, marketing manager, GC-MS for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We’re now positioned to also offer a top GC-MS/MS platform for confirmatory dioxin analysis which has been recently validated against the new regulatory criteria.”
Thermo Fisher also manufactures the Thermo Scientific DFS GC-HRMS for customers requiring additional performance at ultra-trace background levels.
Thermo Fisher also worked with the UK National Reference Laboratory for Contaminants in Food and Feed at the Food and Environmental Research Agency to evaluate GC-MS/MS for confirmation of dioxins.
“Thermo Fisher has helped us to evaluate the suitability of using GC-MS/MS for official food and feed control of dioxins,” said Dr. Martin Rose of the UK NRL. “We wanted to establish whether or not this technique was at a stage where it could meet the highly demanding analytical criteria for dioxin analysis, which previously allowed only HRMS to be used as a confirmatory technique.”