Raise of the tolerable level of nickel in food

EFSA has updated the risk assessment of nickel and increased the safe level of the substance in food and drinking water.

More than 47,000 analytical results on the occurrence of nickel in food and drinking water have been used to calculate the chronic and acute dietary exposure. The highest mean nickel concentrations were measured for the food categories “Legumes, nuts and oilseeds” and “Products for special nutritional use”.

  • Based on toxicological data, the tolerable daily intake (TDI) was increased to 13 micrograms per kilogram of body weight from the previous 2.8 µg/kg bw.

Chronic dietary exposure was below or at the level of the TDI for all adult age groups, but generally exceeded the TDI in toddlers and infants. This may raise a health concern for young children.

Sources of chronic and acute exposure
Grains and grain-based products were the most important contributors to chronic dietary exposure to nickel in all age groups. Concerning acute exposure, the most relevant food categories included beans, coffee, chocolate and breakfast cereals with varying results between age classes. Nickel-sensitized individuals may experience dermatitis flare-ups upon ingestion of nickel-rich food items.

For in-depth details read the EFSA Scientific Opinion on Update of the risk assessment of nickel in food and drinking water

For more information on food substances, please consult:

Helle Buchardt Boyd   
Tel +45 4516 9097