Descriptive analysis of heavy metals content of beef from Eastern Uganda and their safety for public consumption

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Frontiers in Nutrition


In this study, we initiated an effort to generate information about beef safety in Uganda. Our entry point was to assess by atomic absorption spectrophotometry the levels of essential elements copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn), and non-essential elements lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and cadmium (Cd) in 40 beef samples collected from within and around Soroti (Uganda). The information was used to evaluate the safety of consuming such beef against the World Health Organization (WHO) limits. The latter was accomplished by (i) estimating the daily intake (EDI) of each metal in the study area, (ii) modeling the non-cancer health risk using the target hazard quotient (THQ) and (iii) modeling the cancer risk using the incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR). The study finds that the mean concentrations (±95% CI) and EDI were in the order of Fe > Zn > Cr > Ni > Pb > Co > Cu > Cd. Cancer risk was found to be due to Ni > Cr > Cd > Pb and significantly higher in children than adults. The latter particularly demonstrates the importance of Ni poisoning in the study area. Overall, while essential elements in our beef samples were below WHO limits (hence no health risks), non-essential elements had high health and cancer risks due to higher levels of Cr and Ni.



Heavy metals, Food hygiene, Food safety, Uganda, Beef industry


Kasozi KI, Hamira Y, Zirintunda G, Alsharif KF, Altalbawy FMA, Ekou J, Tamale A, Matama K, Ssempijja F, Muyinda R, Kawooya F, Pius T, Kisakye H, Bogere P, Matovu H, Omadang L, Etiang P, Mbogua J, Ochieng JJ, Osuwat LO, Mujinya R, Batiha GE-S and Otim O (2021). Descriptive analysis of heavy metals content of beef from eastern Uganda and their safety for public consumption. Frontiers in Nutritution, 8(592340). doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.592340