Hydroxyanthracene derivatives in food and food supplements

In compliance with new EU Commission Regulation, ​Neotron, member of the Cotecna Group, can perform analysis of hydroxyanthracene derivatives to detect residues in food and food supplements.

Hydroxyanthracene derivatives are a class of naturally occurring chemicals found in various botanical species and used in food or food supplements to improve intestinal function by exploiting their laxative effect. Plants containing hydroxyanthracene derivatives are numerous and belong to different botanical families and genera. For instance they are naturally found in some species of aloe and senna.

According to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and other European and international bodies, including the World Health Organisation, the European Medicines Agency, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, some derivatives of hydroxyanthracene are genotoxic; there is therefore a risk that a constant use will damage the DNA. In addition, animal studies have led to the conclusion that some derivatives of hydroxyanthracene could favor the appearance of cancer in the intestine. No daily safety limit has been established for the use of these substances.

Therefore in March 2021 the European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/468 of 18 March 2021 amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards botanical species containing hydroxyanthracene derivatives. Annex III, part A, to Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 is amended as follows (Annex III, part A, to Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006.):

Preparations from the leaf of Aloe species containing hydroxyanthracene derivatives
Aloe-emodin and all preparations in which this substance is present
Emodin and all preparations in which this substance is present
Danthron and all preparations in which this substance is present


 In view of the above, Cotecna is ready to support clients with its expertise in food testing and help you to ensure you deliver products to market that are compliant, safe, and healthy for consumers.

Neotron, a member of the Cotecna Group and leading European food testing laboratory, is able to perform analysis of hydroxyanthracene derivatives for foods and food supplements by LC-MS/MS technique, permitting to detect the residues with a limit of quantification of 1,0 mg/kg for foods and food supplements containing botanical species such as Aloe-emodin, Aloin A, Aloin B, Danthron and Emodin, in compliance with current regulation.

To request an analysis, or to learn more about our services, please do not hesitate to contact the Neotron team for further information at