In January 2020 researchers from the Czech Republic published the results of their study to assess the weekly dietary intake of cadmium from soybeans (or soya beans). A total of 119 individuals, including vegetarians, vegans and non-vegetarians, were involved in the study. Dietary information was collected via a food frequency questionnaire, and the body weight was assessed. The cadmium content in soy-based foods available on the market was also assessed. Results showed that tofu, as the most frequently consumed food item in the vegetarian/vegan group, contributed most to the total dietary cadmium intake and contained 7.6 μg cadmium/kg. However, the food item with the highest cadmium content was tempeh at 18.1 μg/kg. A further analysis revealed that vegans had the highest average dietary cadmium intake per week from soy-based foods and was 0.4 μg/kg bodyweight. The consumption of soy-based foods was the lowest in the non-vegetarian group as was the dietary intake of cadmium, which was at 0.04 μg/kg bodyweight per week.
(According to the European Food Safety Authority’s Panel on contaminants in the food chain the tolerable weekly intake for cadmium is 2.5 µg/kg bodyweight, which is the level at which adverse effects are not expected.)
Kosečková P et al. Estimation of cadmium load from soybeans and soy-based foods for vegetarians. Environ Monit Assess. 2020 Jan 4;192(2):89.