Title:Állati eredetű élelmiszerek nehézfém-szennyezettségének élelmiszer-biztonsági jelentősége - Irodalmi összefoglaló
SUMMARY This article reviews the food toxicological characteristics of heavy metals and metalloids, as well as their public health significance in foods. Different heavy metals are found in the environment as natural components, however, they can primarily get into the foods of animal origin and the body of human consumers due to anthropogenic (industrial, agricultural, traffic) activities. Heavy metals are not biodegradable, they are accumulated in living organisms and metabolised mostly to more toxic, rarely to less toxic derivatives by biochemical processes. The persistent heavy metals (e.g. Hg, Pb, Cd) found in the environment can get into the body of the superior species and then of the man. Thus, due to their environmental polluting and accumulation properties, their enrichment in the food chain is highly important from public health aspects. The regulations of the European Union and Hungary in force lay down maximum levels for limited number of metals and metalloids and the range of regulated foods of animal origin is also narrower than in the past, e.g. wild game animals and eggs are not included. The regulation of wild game meat (including offal) should particularly be considered because its contamination is in close correlation with the status of the environment where animals reside, thus they are sensitive indicators of it.