Metal Trace Elements and Minerals (ET2M) unit of the Laboratory for Food Safety

Maisons-Alfort site

Head of Unit: Petru Jitaru 

The Metal Trace Elements and Minerals (ET2M) unit focuses on inorganic contaminants, such as metal and non-metal trace elements (arsenic, selenium, sulphur, etc.), and minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.).

Reference activities

As part of its mandate as National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for trace elements in foodstuffs of animal origin, the unit develops and validates analytical methods, coordinates a network of approved laboratories, organises inter-laboratory proficiency tests (ILPTs) and continuing training, and develops reference materials.

Expert appraisal activities

The unit’s experts are involved in assessing risks, in particular contributing to the development of the surveillance system for trace elements in food. The unit also participates in standardisation (AFNOR, European Committee for Standardization, etc.) and expert appraisal work carried out ANSES and is involved in the Biotox/Paratox network dedicated to analytical requirements when responding to a terrorist threat.

Research activities

The unit works to produce knowledge, primarily through the development and implementation of novel analytical approaches for the quantification of trace elements, speciation analysis, and the characterisation of nanoparticles in food.

These activities enable consumer exposure to these inorganic contaminants to be assessed as part of local, national and international research projects. The unit also studies the accumulation and distribution of trace metal elements and their chemical species in food, as well as their transformation during cooking processes.