The 2nd Symposium on Trace Elements in Food (TEF-2) will be held 7–8 October in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting will consist of two full days of lectures and discussions, with 100 to 150 participants expected. The symposium will be a forum to bring together research institutions, authorities, and industry for the general exchange of knowledge and experience gained during recent years. It will also serve for the identification of areas where R&D efforts should be strengthened and/or redirected.
Trace elements may have different functions in the human and animal metabolism: some are toxic (e.g. Hg), others are essential to maintain good health (e.g. Ca); or, they can be essential but also toxic, depending on the concentration in the body or in parts thereof (e.g. Se). Therefore, it is important to have validated, efficient and harmonised methods on standby in the Member State laboratories concerned, not only with respect to food analysis but for other matrices influencing the trace element content of food, e.g. soil, water, feed, food additives etc.
The importance of various aspects of trace elements in relation to food is increasing steadily in the perception of the consumer and the respective authorities: food contaminants, essential and toxic elements, bio-availability and speciation, nutritional value and fortified food, reliable measurement of contents. In addition, through the many minor and major food-related incidents during recent years the consumer is becoming more concerned about the quality and safety of his food. As a result, research and development efforts in this area have also been increased and/or re-directed.