Chloropropanols in Australian meat products

A Food Standards Agency investigation into 1,3-dichloropropanol (1,3-DCP) has not found it in any of the meat products tested. 1,3-DCP is a chemical that might harm people's health.

The investigation was following up the results of a Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) survey that found 1,3-DCP in samples of cooked and uncooked meats and meat products bought in Australia. This was a new finding because 1,3-DCP had not been found in such food before and some of the samples contained 1,3-DCP when 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD, the precursor of 1,3-DCP) was not detected.

3-MPCD and 1,3-DCP both belong to a group of chemicals called chloropropanols. 3-MCPD has been found in many foods at low levels as a result of processing. There is concern that these chemicals could cause harm to people if consumed at high levels over a long period of time.

To find out if 1,3-DCP was present in meat and meat products on sale in the UK, 28 samples of beef, pork and lamb sausages, mince and whole portions of meat were bought. The Central Science Laboratory analysed cooked and uncooked samples for 1,3-DCP and 3-MCPD.

1,3-DCP was not detected in any of the samples. Low levels of 3-MCPD were detected in five of the cooked samples. This was not unexpected because low levels have been found previously in similar foods. The full table of results is at the link below – there is no legal limit for 3-MCPD in these products.

There is no need for people to change their diets as a result of the findings of this investigation.

An Agency commissioned research project investigating the factors that influence the formation of 3-MCPD in foods is due to be completed later this year (2004). The results will be used to inform advice the food industry on any measures that can be taken to reduce levels of 3-MCPD.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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