New maximum levels for pyrrolizidine alkaloids

New maximum levels for pyrrolizidine alkaloids

The European Commission recently published the Regulation (EU) 2020/2040 of 11.12., which sets maximum levels for pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The new values will apply across the EU from July 1, 2022.

Sell-off period
The so-called transitional measures / period, also known as the sell-off period, has been extended to 18 months. According to that all products manufactured and legally marketed before July 1, 2022 may continue to be traded until December 31, 2023.

Overview of the maximum levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in specific foods:

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids Maximum level (μg/kg)


Herbal infusions (dried product) 200
Herbal infusions of rooibos, anise (Pimpinella anisum), lemon balm, chamomile, thyme, peppermint, lemon verbena (dried product) and mixtures exclusively composed of these dried herbs 400
Tea (Camellia sinensis) and flavoured tea (Camellia sinensis) (dried product) 150
Tea (Camellia sinensis), flavoured tea (Camellia sinensis) and herbal infusions for infants and young children (dried product) 75
Tea (Camellia sinensis), flavoured tea (Camellia sinensis) and herbal infusions for infants and young children (liquid) 1,0
Food supplements containing herbal ingredients including extracts 400
Pollen based food supplements
Pollen and pollen products
Borage leaves (fresh, frozen) placed on the market for the final consumer 750
Dried herbs 400
Borage, lovage, marjoram and oregano (dried) and mixtures exclusively composed of these dried herbs 1000
Cumin seeds (seed spice) 400


Note: For exceptions and detailed information, please read the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/2040 of 11 December 2020.

Explanatory note

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) are Phytochemicals and as such a natural defense protection against predators. In particular, 1,2-unsaturated PA have a high toxic potential. Therefore these harmful compounds are undesired in food and feed.


GALAB checks the content of 1,2-unsaturated PA through liquid extraction with SPE purification and measurement using LC-MS/MS. This method currently covers 31 analytes and thus expands the spectrum of the 21 substances recommended by the BfR.

GALAB offers the analysis of 1,2-unsaturated PA in various foods from herbs and spices, tea, honey, flour and dietary supplements. This also includes the baby food production chain, such as products containing spinach. The limit of quantification is 1 μg / kg for solid foods (e.g. herbs, tea, honey, flour) and 0.1 μg / kg for liquid foods (e.g. ready-to-drink teas).

With these profound services, GALAB enables everyone involved in the food chain full analysis as well as continuous support from a single source.

Get more information about our analysis and relevant parameters:

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2020/2040 maximum levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in certain foodstuffs

Parameters & Analytical Methods

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