[Translate to english:] Mineralstoffe und Elementanalytik: Elemente in Meersalz

Minerals and Elemental Analysis

Analysis of bulk elements, trace elements and heavy metals

Elemental analysis investigates the elementary composition of foodstuffs. In this process, both naturally occurring elements (bulk and trace elements) and elements that are added can be determined.

Information on the contents of bulk and trace elements in foodstuffs are of particular interest for the consumer. Therefore, the legislature regulates the information related to nutritional values and health-related information (health claims) on the labels. In Switzerland, the Ordinance on the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (Lebensmittelkennzeichnungsverordnung, LKV) applies here.

Additionally, numerous inorganic environmental contaminants such as the heavy metals arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium can be identified by using element spectroscopy.

In our modern laboratory, spectroscopic measurement techniques such as atomic absorption (AAS), emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) or the highly-sensitive coupling of ICP with a mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) are available.

Depending on the question being asked, element screening can be carried out along with the targeted detection of an individual element. Here, up to 31 elements can be identified in one analysis process.

Do you have any question on the interpretation of the Food Labelling Ordinance (LKV) or do you require help in the evaluation of the test results? Then take advantage of our experience from more than 45 years of foodstuff analysis.

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We’d be pleased to advise you.

Your contact person
Head of Order Management Food & Feed Services

Sascha Theobald

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Statutory Requirements in Switzerland and the European Union

In Switzerland, the Ordinance of the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs on the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (LKV) applies here. There are only small differences however compared to the EU Regulations. Regulations for the labelling of foodstuffs can be found in appendices 7 (“Information related to nutritional values and requirements for its usage”) and 8 (“Permissible health claims for foodstuffs, food components, food ingredients and food categories and requirements for their usage”) of the Ordinance on the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs. If other ingredients in foodstuffs are to be highlighted, then they must be approved by the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health (BAG). The contents of these ingredient must be proven analytically in foodstuffs.

Bulk elements

In the case of bulk elements, nutritional science is primarily interested in the elements: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Determination is often carried out in milk products, nuts, meat, cereals, fruit and vegetables.

Trace elements

The essential trace elements of cobalt, iron, fluorine, iodine, copper, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and silicon are involved in a variety of physiological processes and must be ingested daily from food. At the same time, a too high level of intake can lead to damage (e.g. affecting the functions of the thyroid glands) as can an undersupply. To enable the consumer to plan a balanced diet, correct labelling of the product is mandatory here.

Examples of bulk elements

Examples of trace elements

Examples of heavy metals

Calcium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus

Boron, chromium, iron, fluoride, iodine, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, zinc

Arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium

Premixes - the addition of minerals and trace elements

For manufacturers who use premixes for the enrichment of foodstuffs, analytical investigation of these source materials and evidence of the correct dosage and distribution in the finished product is essential to optimise the manufacturing process.

Verification of the recipe of the mineral content of a product.

There are a variety of element spectroscopic measurement procedures available for this purpose such as atomic absorption (AAS) or emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and ICP-MS.

Laboratory analysis will provide you with the necessary information on the corresponding element content of your product.

Would you like to highlight this information on the label?

Then you must also consider whether an extended declaration of nutrients (“big 8”) will be necessary.

Our services in detail:

Determination of minerals, heavy metals and elements using ICP
Determination of minerals, heavy metals and elements using ICP

Infrastructure and Methods

All instrumental resources at a glance. Large selection of instruments and technology from UFAG Laboratories


Virtual Tour

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Do you have any questions regarding the testing of your products?

We will be happy to advise you!