On October 29th, 2021, the European Food Safety Authority published the “Presence of Nitrofurans and their metabolites in Gelatine” in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/1871, following the detection of semicarbazide (SEM) at levels exceeding by three times the reference point for action (RPA) of 1 μg/kg.
The key objectives are summarised below:
To assess and distinguish SEM occurring due to illegal treatment with nitrofurazone from SEM produced during food processing;
It is observed that SEM, both free and bound to macromolecules, could occur also in food products such as gelatine, during food processing, arising from the use of disinfecting agents and/or from reactions of various food components;
SEM cannot be considered as an unequivocal marker of the abuse of nitrofurazone in animal production;
More investigation is required on the areas of processing conditions that lead to the formation of SEM in gelatine during its production and levels;
A potential approach to distinguish between SEM from nitrofurazone and SEM from other sources in food products, such as gelatine, might be based on determining the ratio of bound free SEM in a sample of gelatine;
The ratio of bound free SEM would unequivocally distinguish between SEM arising from nitrofurazone abuse or from other sources and still needs to be demonstrated.