Perchlorate is a chemical compound that naturally occurs in the environment. It is also a pollutant that mainly originates from fertilizers and as a product of the degradation of water disinfection products. As a result, foods such as vegetables and fruits can become contaminated with perchlorate.
Perchlorate as a pollutant of foodstuffs is a relatively new focus of attention. It was established in 2013 that vegetables and fruits could contain percentages of perchlorate such that the food safety cannot be guaranteed, although consuming these products once or twice does not pose an immediate threat. Perchlorate inhibits the absorption of iodine in the body and can therefore influence the functioning of the thyroid gland. Chronic exposure can prove critical to certain population groups.
No statutory norms apply, but the European Commission has established reference values.