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The selenium content of Scottish soil and food products

By F.M. Fordyce, N. Brereton, J. Hughes, G. Reay, L. Thomas, A. Walker, W. Luo and J. Lewis


This report presents the findings of a pilot study to examine the relationships between the selenium content of Scottish soils and foodstuffs produced in Scotland, commissioned by the Food Standards Agency Scotland (FSAS) between 2008 and 2009.\ud Selenium (Se) is a trace element, essential for human health, and a key component of many physiological and metabolic processes, including immune function. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is currently scoping the literature concerning Se and health, which will subsequently inform their position on this issue. The FSAS is awaiting SACN to complete their work before conclusions on the health consequences of current Se intakes can be made.\ud In line with the rest of the UK, there is evidence that dietary Se intakes in Scotland have fallen in recent years, due to changes in the sourcing of bread-making wheat, i.e., using European wheat, rather than that grown on the Se-rich soils of North America.\ud There is no national soil-Se geochemistry database for Scotland, capable of identifying areas of relatively high or low soil-Se concentrations. However, the Scottish environment is thought to be lacking in Se, relative to other parts of the UK (due to the country’s underlying geology and particular climatic conditions). Dietary-Se intakes may, therefore, be compromised by the current move towards the consumption of locally-produced foods.\ud Therefore, this project was designed to establish the links between the underlying geology and the concentrations of Se, both in the overlying soils and in the foods produced on them. Although only a feasibility study, it is hoped that this information will assist with the development of informed food-policy in Scotland

Publisher: Food Standards Agency Scotland
Year: 2009
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