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Analysis of 4 marker PAHs in olive oil


Publication date
28 January 2013


Analysis of 4 marker PAHs in olive oil

Proficiency Test on the Determination of 4 marker PAHs in edible oil

The European Union Reference Laboratory for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons organises a proficiency test on the determination of 4 marker PAHs (see Table 1) in olive oil.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the capabilities of European National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) and Official Food Control Laboratories (OCLs) in the determination of the target analytes and their sum in edible oil in view of forthcoming legislative updates on maximum levels of PAHs in food.

Only NRLs for PAHs and OCLs as indicated by NRLs can participate in the study.

Participation is admitted to maximum 80 official food control laboratories, which will be accepted in the order of registration.

Participation is free of charge for NRLs for PAHs.

The participation fee is EUR 250 (two hundred fifty) per registration for OCLs, which do not have NRL status.

Test material and analytes

The test material is a commercial olive oil containing the target analytes (see Table 1). Participants will receive one amber glass ampoule containing about 20 g of the spiked olive oil. In addition, participants will get an ampoule with a solution of PAHs with disclosed analyte content, in, depending on their preference, either acetonitrile or toluene. This solution will be supplied to allow the participants verifying their instrument calibration against an independent standard.

Table 1: The target analytes of the comparison

benz[a]anthracene (BaA)
benzo[b]fluoranthene (BbF)
benzo[a]pyrene (BaP)
chrysene (CHR)
Sum of the four marker PAHs

General outline

Participants are requested to perform three independent analyses of the edible oil. These analyses shall be performed on the same day. Participants have to report the results for individual analytes of the replicate analyses. These results have to be reported corrected for recovery.

Participants will also be asked to report a single value for scoring, the "finalvalue", both for the individual analytes as well as for the sum of the four marker PAHs. These results will have to be reported corrected for recovery and have to be accompanied by the respective measurement uncertainty.

Further details will be communicated to participants at a later stage.

Performance assessment:

The performance of the participants in the determination of PAHs in olive oil will be rated by z-scores and zeta-scores.

The standard deviations for proficiency assessment will be derived:

  • For the four individual target analytes,from the fitness-for-purpose function given in Commission Regulation (EC)No333/2007, assuming a value of 0.3 μg/kg for the limit of detection.
  • For their sum, the target standard deviations will be obtained from the truncated Horwitz equation (σ = 22 % C, where C is the assigned value)


Registration shall be done via this link

Reporting of results:6 weeks from sample dispatch
Reporting to participants:January 2012
Sample dispatch:second half of September2011
Year:2011-01-01 00:00:00


EUR 25300 EN Report EU-RL PAHs PT on oil 2011_final.pdf
(2.02 MB - PDF)