Arsenic (As) compounds can be classified as organic or inorganic, with inorganic arsenic (iAs) having significantly higher toxicity than organic As. As may accumulate in food materials that have been exposed to As-contaminated environments. Thus, the “Sanitation Standard for Contaminants and Toxins in Foods” published by the Ministry of Health and Welfare set the standard limits for iAs content in rice, seaweed, seafood, and marine oils to safeguard public health. Therefore, a robust analytical method must be developed to selectively and quantitatively determine iAs content in rice, seaweed, seafood, and marine oils. Herein, we reported and verified the method of combined high-performance liquid chromatography/inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (HPLC/ICP-MS) to determine iAs content in a wide variety of food. The fish oil samples were spiked with different concentrations of the As(III) standard solution, and their iAs analyzes were obtained via extraction procedures using the 1% (w/w) nitric acid (HNO3) solution containing 0.2 M hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) under sonication. The extracts were subsequently analyzed for their As(V) contents using HPLC/ICP-MS with aqueous ammonium carbonate as the mobile phase. The As(III) species had completely oxidized into the As(V) species, which prevented interferences between organic and iAs during chromatography. The method showed good extraction efficiencies (generally >90%) for the iAs samples, and their limits of quantification in fish oil were 0.02 mg/kg. The method was verified via the iAs speciation analytes of rice, seaweed, seafood, and marine oil matrices. The average recoveries for the fortified samples of each matrix ranged from 87.5 to 112.4%, with their coefficients of variation being less than 10%. Surveillance studies were conducted on the iAs contents of food samples purchased from local Taiwanese markets. The results showed that the only Hijiki (Sargassum fusiforme) higher than the maximum limit of the sanitation standard for iAs in seaweed, whereas the remaining samples met their corresponding requirements. This method is quick and straightforward, and it can be applied for the routine analysis of iAs content in a wide variety of food products to ensure public health safety.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.