Maximum limits for PAHs

Dr. Behr PAK
EU Regulation 2015/1933, which will apply from 1 April 2016, has introduced new legally-binding maximum limits for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): 10 µg/kg of benzo[a]pyrene and a collective 50 µg/kg for the four PAHs benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, chrysene (PAH4) for food supplements that contain botanical substances and their preparations.

PAHs are produced from the incomplete combustion of organic matter. They are lipophilic, highly volatile and are contained in exhausts from vehicles, coal stoves and oil heating. Foodstuffs – and thus food supplements – can become contaminated with PAHs via the air, soil, water and sediment. In addition, PAHs may also be formed when processing herbal raw materials, for example, during smoking, drying, frying, broiling, roasting and baking.

Dr. Behr’s quality assurance now even stricter

For sourcing herbal raw materials, we have been closely collaborating with our suppliers for a long time to fulfil the European requirements. So far, our supplier of conventional spirulina, for instance, has sent us mixed samples of the batches before purchase that we had then tested for benzo[a]pyrene. Since 2015 already, we have had tested these samples for PAH4 as well – only after approval we have had the goods delivered.

For organic spirulina and organic chlorella, the maximum limits are even lower, as the goods are tested in accordance with the certifying body CERES. Since the beginning of this year, Dr. Behr has even established another inspection stage: we do not only test the mixed samples following the CERES regulations, but also samples of every single 1 000-kg batch after goods receipt. The goods are only released for delivery when the laboratory report is satisfactory.

Samples of other raw materials from our portfolio, for example of psyllium husks, cocoa powder and millet extract, were also tested for PAH4. And our suppliers do the same for royal jelly, which is explicitly mentioned in EU Regulation 2015/1933.

If desired, we will gladly provide you with test reports. Just contact us at +49 228 976396-0 or at

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