Performance of laboratories in speciation analysis in seafood – Case of methylmercury and inorganic arsenic

Ines Baer, Malcolm Baxter, Vicenta Devesa, Dinoraz Vélez, Georg Raber, Roser Rubio, Toni Llorente-Mirandes, Jens Jørgen Sloth, Piotr Robouch, Beatriz de la Calle

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The international measurement evaluation program (IMEP) has together with the European Reference Laboratory for Heavy Metals in Feed and Food (EU-RL-HM) carried out two interlaboratory comparisons (ILC) in 2010 on the measurement of trace metals, as well as methylmercury and inorganic arsenic in seafood. In IMEP-109 only EU National Reference Laboratories (NRL) took part, while IMEP-30 was open to all laboratories. In this article only methylmercury and inorganic arsenic analysis will be discussed, as these appear generally to be more problematic measurands. They are also particularly interesting to legislators, as no maximum limits have been set yet for them in European legislation. The aim of the two ILCs was to produce more information to help tackling this issue. The results of the two exercises were pooled together, evaluated, and compared with former ILC projects for methylmercury and inorganic arsenic analysis. Results for inorganic arsenic were spread, but not method dependant. The measurand seems to be difficult to analyse in this matrix and possible method issues were identified. Methylmercury results were satisfactory, but not many laboratories perform this type of analysis because it is generally believed that specific instrumentation is needed. As an answer to this presumption, alternatives are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Control
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1928-1934
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Speciation
  • Methylmercury
  • IMEP
  • Interlaboratory comparison
  • Seafood
  • Inorganic arsenic

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