The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for copper from all sources in food will be reduced from 0.15 mg/kg of body weight (bw) to 0.07 mg/kg bw based on an updated evaluation of the scientific evidence. EFSA’s draft scientific opinion on copper in food is open for comments until 1 August 2022 – have your say now!
Copper is an essential micronutrient for all living beings including humans. Too much or too little copper in the diet can lead to health problems. It is naturally present in many foods and also enters the food chain through its use in organic and conventional pesticides, feed and food additives, and as a nutrient in fortified foods and food supplements.
EFSA’s Scientific Committee was asked to review the ADI for copper used in the various sectors across EFSA’s work in line with our 2021 approach for setting health-based guidance values, such as an ADI, for substances which are both nutrients and regulated products. The new ADI is derived from the retention of copper in the liver by adults.
Exposure to copper from all dietary sources
In addition to reviewing the acceptable intake, our scientists have assessed consumers’ exposure to total copper from all sources in the diet for the first time. In the general population exposure does not exceed this ADI, but due to some uncertainties this may be underestimated for some subpopulations of regular consumers of foods with higher copper content.
Intakes for younger age groups exceed the new ADI but the experts concluded this would not pose a lifetime risk for copper toxicity and therefore is not considered a health concern. Young children need more copper for development and use it at a higher rate than adults. Therefore, copper is less likely to be retained in a child’s liver.
Once finalised, the new ADI will be applicable in relation to pesticides, feed additives and food additives, and EFSA’s tolerable upper intake level for copper as a micronutrient will be updated.