Heavy metal contamination in foods and beverages is not generally visible without professional analysis or testing in the laboratory, and this is especially so for processed items.

Indonesia has been seeing increasing industrial activity such as reservoir development over the past few years, resulting in rising concerns of heavy metal leaching into waterways and the general environment.

With concerns surfacing amongst consumers on social media, the government has been seeking to quell these fears via several methods such as the publishing of a 2021 study by the Center for Applied Nuclear Science and Technology vouching for the safety of staple foods in Jakarta based on Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) method and a health risk index.

Another recent move was recently made by the National Agency of Drug and Food Control, which issued a notice to adjust the limits of heavy metals allowed in processed foods to be enforced over 12 months.

“In order to protect the community from contamination in the food supply and to increase the competitiveness of Indonesian processed food products, heavy metals are a key area of ​​governance focus,”​BPOM Head Penny Lukito said via a formal statement.

“BPOM has thus decided to update the heavy metal contamination limits in the Regulation on Requirements for Heavy Metal Contaminants in Processed Food, which will replace the previous regulations that were last amended in 2018.

“Major heavy metals that will be monitored included arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury and tin.”