The presence of fatty acid esters of 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (e.g. 3-MCPD esters or bound 3-MCPD) has been reported in various types of foods and food ingredients, especially in vegetable oils. Although there is no evidence to suggest any adverse health effects from 3-MCPD-esters in food, an indirect toxicological concern is raised by the potential release of free 3-MCPD through the action of gut lipases.
Chloro-esters are contaminants that can form during the processing and manufacture of certain foods and ingredients. Although they are known by-products of the manufacture of acid-hydrolysed vegetable proteins, the presence of these compounds in foods has only recently been established. Hence the main toxicological concern here is the potential release of e.g. toxic 3-MCPD from the chloroesters in vivo during digestion in the gastrointestinal tract.
In December 2007, the German risk assessment body (BfR) issued an evaluation on dietary 3-MCPD-esters (http://www.bfr.bund.de/cd/10581). Exposures up to 20 fold the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 3-MCPD were anticipated in infants fed formulas. Adult men consuming 100g vegetable fat per day would exceed the TDI for 3-MCPD up to 5-times. More recently, EFSA confirmed the BfR-approach and calculations (EFSA, No EFSA-Q-2008-258, adopted on 28th of March 2008). Recent reports indicate that the formation of 3-MCPD esters (monoesters and diesters of fatty acids) may be widespread in processed foods derived from cereals, coffee, fish, meat, potatoes, nuts and refined oils. The refined oils accounted for some of the highest amounts of chloroesters and hence commodities that use these ingredients in their recipe (e.g. infant formulae) or during cooking/processing (e.g potato products), have been shown to contain elevated levels of bound 3-MCPD. Based on the current status of knowledge, the actual human health significance of chloroesters in food is difficult to assess. To date, a lack of toxicological data and limited exposure data have precluded a proper risk assessment and JECFA has recommended that studies be undertaken to address these issues.
A Workshop on 5-6 February 2009 was organised in Centre Albert Borschette, Brussels, Belgium, in collaboration with the European Commission and two ILSI Europe Task forces (Risk Assessment of Chemicals in Food and Process-Related Compounds / Natural Toxins). This workshop involved selected/invited stakeholders from the regulatory sector, academia and industry (food industry and oil industry).
The following topics were addressed:
· Review of all available data required for risk assessment
· Identify the key data gaps for risk assessment
· Define experimental research strategy to fill data gaps
· Propose an action plan
The composition of the Workshop Organising Committee was the following:
Dr. Ib Knudsen - Chair, DVM (DK)
Dr. Geoff Thompson - Co-Chair, Groupe Danone (BE)
Prof. Gerhard Eisenbrand, University of Kaiserslautern (DE)
Dr. Claudia Heppner, European Food Safety Authority - EFSA (IT)
Dr. Sam Lalljie (Chair of the AANT TF), Unilever (UK)
Dr. Benoît Schilter (Chair of the RC TF), Nestlé (CH)
Dr. Josef Schlatter, Federal Office of Public Health (CH)
Mr. Frans Verstraete, European Commission DG SANCO (BE)
Mr. Alessandro Chiodini, ILSI Europe (BE)
Dr. Pratima Rao Jasti, ILSI Europe(BE)
Dr. Nico van Belzen, Executive Director ILSI Europe (BE)
Dr. Stéphane Vidry, ILSI Europe (BE)
Presentations from the Workshop on 3-MCPD Esters in Food Products
Risk Assessment of 3- MCPD esters in food – BfR’s position - Alfonso Lampen, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (DE)
Evaluation of 3-MCPD esters – EFSA’s position - Claudia Heppner, European Food Safety Authority EFSA (IT)
Regulatory issues: current and future perspectives- Frans Verstraete, European Commission DG Sanco (BE)
Molecular mechanisms of MCPD esters formation: facts and hypotheses - Varoujan Yaylayan, Mc Gill University (CA)
Fatty Acid esters of 3-MCPD: overview of occurrence in different types of foodstuffs- Rüdiger Weisshaar, Chemisches und Veterinär Untersuchungsamt (DE)
Structural diversity of MCPD esters in food: analytical challenges and preliminary data- Walburga Seefelder, Nestlé (CH)
Biological/safety significance of various MCPD-esters in food- Benoît Schilter, Nestlé (CH)
Potential ways of reduction of 3-MCPD esters in vegetable oils- Gerrit van Duijn, Unilever (NL)
Potential ways of reduction of 3-MCPD esters in vegetable oils/data on mitigation- Bertrand Matthäus, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food (DE)
Identification of data gaps in knowledge concerning toxicology of 3-MCPD-esters- Gerhard Eisenbrand, University of Kaiserslautern (DE)
Reporting from Working Groups
WG 1 - Analytical and exposure assessment
WG 2 - Technologies and reduction strategies
WG 3 - Toxicology and toxicokinetics
To download the summary report of the workshop, click here.
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