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Contamination in Plant-oils and Food with 3-MCDP, 2-MCPD and Glycidyl-fatty-acid-esters

The substance 3-Chlor-1,2-propandiol, short “3-MCPD” is a chemical compound originating in the chlorinated diols. 3-MCPD can be picked up as a Monochloroderiative of Glycerin.

3-Chlor-propandiol as well as 2-Chlorpropandiol (2-MCPD), who’s fatty-acid-ester and Glycidyl-acid-esters have been observed as toxic products during the production process of fat-rich and salt-containing foods when heated. This observable behaviour is similar to Acrylamid and the well-known Acrolein. So far it has been analytically detected in bread, seasonings (soy sauce), smoked meat products, fatty and oily products as well as infant milk powder. 3-MCPD can present itself in a free as well as a more esterified form; especially within fats and oils – if fatty acids as 3-MCPD-fatty-acids are present.

During digestion, free MCPD is produced from 3-MCPD esters. This triggers tumors in animal experiments from a certain dosage. In doing so, it is linked with alterations within humans, influencing the functioning of the kidneys and causing benign tumors in high dosages. Consequently, its nutritional intake should be minimized.   

The scientific food committee of the EU-commission (SCF) has determined the TDI value (tolerable daily dosage) to be 0,8 μg/kg bodyweight (EFSA 2016). The main source of nutritional intake of 3-MCPD in 2004 was soy sauce and products on the basis of soy sauce. Research results of the University of Prague from 2006 show, that 3-MCPD with fatty-acid-esters can also be present in high concentrations in refined edible fats and edible oils. Aside from refined edible fats and oils, 3-MCPD-fatty-acid-esters were also found in fatty-foods. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) determined in their statement (number: 006/2013), that they believe on the basis of new studies, that fatty-acids in the body are split by digestion-enzymes, so that free 3-MCPD is produced. Therefore, 3-MCPD-fatty-acid-esters equally exhaust the TDI-value as free 3-MCPD.

The data from the EFSA analysis, estimated average exposure to 3-MCPD and their respective fatty-acid-esters was particularly high in the youthful population demographic (children aged between 1 and 10 years of age). These had distinctly higher TDI-values than the proposed 0,8 μg/kg bodyweight per day. The highest exposure-values were found solely in industrially produced infant-start-food by the EFSA. These showed an average value of 2,4 µg/kg bodyweight per day. This value exceeds the proposed TDI daily intake by over 3-fold and is consequently categorized as alarming for human health by the EFSA. On this account, there is still a need for action to minimize the contents in these products.

Currently, there are statutory maximum levels for 3-MCPD in hydrolysed plant protein and soy sauce. However, on the basis of EFSA’S current findings, the EU commission is working on a draft-law establishing maximum levels of 3-MCPD, 2-MCPD and its fatty acid esters in other specified foods. These should also be recorded in the contaminant maximum level regulation (VO (EU) 1881/2006).

If you want to protect yourself or have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation.


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