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Ten potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines in our foodstuffs


The European Food Safety Authority reports the presence of these risky compounds in many products and calls for us to remain vigilant about the composition of our diet.

The presence in everyday foods of at least ten nitrosamines, compounds that can be formed during their preparation and processing, poses health risks, says a study published Tuesday by the European Food Safety Authority.


Our assessment concludes that, for all age groups of the population in the European Union, the level of exposure to nitrosamines in food constitutes a health problem

", explains Dieter Schrenk, chairman of the Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the food chain, quoted in an EFSA press release.

In total, at least ten nitrosamines present in food are carcinogenic (likely to cause cancer) and genotoxic (likely to damage DNA), conclude the authors of this study.


Based on animal studies, we considered the incidence of liver tumors in rodents to be the most critical health effect

," adds Schrenk.


The consumption of ultra-processed foods increases the risk of cancer

Many products affected

In particular, nitrosamines have been found in different types of foodstuffs, such as meat products and cured meats, processed fish, cocoa, beer and other alcoholic beverages.

The most important food group that contributes to nitrosamine exposure is meat and meat products, according to the study.

However, nitrosamines can be present in other foods, including processed vegetables, grains, milk and dairy products, or fermented, pickled or spiced foods.

However, the authors of the study concede that they still face “

gaps in the available knowledge on the presence of nitrosamines in certain specific food categories


Furthermore, “

to ensure a high level of consumer protection, we have developed a worst-case scenario in our risk assessment.

We assumed that all nitrosamines in food had the same carcinogenic potential in humans as the most harmful nitrosamine, although this is unlikely

,” Schrenk said.

Balancing your diet by consuming a wider variety of foods could help consumers reduce their intake of nitrosamines, recommends EFSA, whose opinion will be shared with the European Commission.

This will examine, with the national authorities, the risk management measures required.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-03-28

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