Revised Safe Intake for 3-MCPD in vegetable oils and food

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EFSA’s experts have used an updated scientific approach to reassess the possible long-term adverse effects of the food poisoning processing contaminant 3-MCPD on the kidney and male fertility.

Consumption levels of 3-MCPD in food are considered safe for most consumers but there is a potential health concern among high consumers in younger age groups. In the worst case scenario, infants receiving formula only may slightly exceed the safe level.

EFSA’s expert panel on contaminants first assessed the potential risks of 3-MCPD in 2016 together with another food processing contaminant called glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE). The Authority concluded that GE are a concern for public health because they are genotoxic and carcinogenic, i.e. they can damage DNA and cause cancer.

The European Commission is finalising new EU legislation aimed at reducing GE levels in vegetable oils and foods.

The current update is for 3-MCPD and its esters only and EFSA’s previous assessment of GE has not changed.

Prof Christer Hogstrand, who chaired the scientific group that developed the 2016 opinion and the update, said: “EFSA decided to review its assessment after the UN’s Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives [JECFA] subsequently established a different safe level – tolerable daily intake or TDI.

“In the meantime EFSA updated the method we used to calculate our previous TDI – what’s called the benchmark dose (BMD) approach.

“The panel applied the revised method to its reassessment of 3-MCPD and, as a result, it has increased its previous safe level two and a half fold.”

3-MCPD Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) in µg/kg bw*

EFSA 2017

2.0

JECFA 2016

4.0

EFSA 2016

0.8

*Micrograms per kilogram of body weight

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT 3-MCPD

Read IFST’s Information Statement on 3-MCPD and Glycidyl Esters

Source: EFSA's press release

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