Application Note: Determination of heavy metals and trace elements in alternative meats per EAM 4.7 Method for ICP-MS
16 September 2022

The food industry is aware of the rise in popularity of meat-free foods and is actively investigating processes and products that can help meet the demand. The trend for meat-free foods can be seen by the ever-increasing selection of alternative protein products on supermarket shelves, and on the menus of fast-food outlets and restaurants. Some food companies are already selling products that are produced by cultivating meat-tissue from animal-origin cells, grown in a bioreactor. 

To ensure that non-meat based protein or cultured protein products are safe for human consumption and to understand their macro and micronutrient content, elemental analysis is necessary. Elemental analysis can determine the concentration of heavy metals as well as nutrient elements such as potassium and calcium in these products. 

This study describes the use of the Agilent 7850 ICP-MS and Agilent SPS 4 autosampler for the analysis of 30 elements in different plant-based alternative meat samples and 29 elements in cell-culture solutions. The study includes measurement equipment and parameters and provides typical results, making it useful for analysts developing methods for non-meat based protein products.