Frequently asked questions regarding the contamination of foods with 3-MCPD, 2-MCPD and glycidyl fatty acid esters

BfR FAQ, 7 July 2016

3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD), 2-monochloropropanediol (2-MCPD) and their fatty acid esters as well as glycidyl fatty acid esters are process contaminants in foods that have the potential to be harmful to health and are therefore undesirable in foods.

Since 3-MCPD fatty acid esters were detected in refined vegetable fats for the first time in 2007, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has assessed the health risks of these process contaminants in foods multiple times, most recently in 2012. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has now assessed possible risks to human health of 2-MCPD, 3-MCPD and their fatty acid esters, as well as of glycidyl fatty acid esters, in foods. During this process, EFSA documented analytical data on the occurrence of these process contaminants in foods from a total of 23 EU member states (collected between 2009 and 2015) and performed an exposure assessment for different groups of the population. In its expert report, EFSA identified potential health risks from fatty esters of 3-MCPD, 2-MCPD and glycidol in foods in particular for younger age groups of the population.

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