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EFSA defines lower TDI for 3-MCPD

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Risk re-evaluation for process contaminants arising in vegetable oils or fatty and salty food exposed to high temperatures

In a currently published scientific opinion about 2- and 3-monochloropropanediol (2- and 3-MCPD), their esters and glycidyl esters (GE), the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) raised potential health concerns for certain population groups (EFSA Journal 2016: 24(5): 4426).

The highest levels of 2-, 3-MCPD (incl. esters) and GE were found in palm oils and palm fats. Infants and toddlers are particularly exposed to these substances by the consumption of infant formula, vegetable fats and oils as well as pastries and cakes. It is assumed that the esters (2-MCPD-, 3-MCPD- and GE) are transformed into their free forms within the human body and thus toxicity is considered to be similar.

For glycidyl esters (GE), the EFSA concluded a particular health concern for young population groups with mean exposure, such as `Infants´ and `Toddlers´, but also for consumers with high exposure in all age groups. Glycidol, parent compound of GE, is considered to be genotoxic and carcinogenic.

3-MCPD has been related to harmful effects on organs in animal testing. Therefore, the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) level for 3-MCPD (incl. esters) has been decreased to 0.8 µg/kg bodyweight. For 2-MCPD no risk characterisation was done due to a lack of information. The EFSA recommends further studies.

The analysis of the various 2-MCPD-, 3-MCPD- and glycidyl esters in food is extremely complex with a couple of direct and indirect methods in existence. Eurofins´ most comprehensive portfolio on process contaminants comprises a set of direct and indirect methods for the analysis of 3-MCPD, its esters as well as glycidyl esters by gas chromatographic methods.