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EFSA, concern over 10 carcinogenic nitrosamines in food

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“Consumer exposure to nitrosamines, compounds that can form in foods during their preparation and processing, is of concern for health“: writes the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in a note in support of the new scientific opinion on consumer exposure to ten carcinogenic nitrosamines found in food. In general, nitrosamines can be formed from nitrites, so the food group that most contributes to exposure to these substances is meat products. In general, they can form in cured meats, processed fish, cheese, soy sauce, oils, processed vegetables, and even breast milk.

“Concern for all age groups of the EU population”

“A balanced diet with the widest possible variety of foods – recommends EFSA – could help consumers reduce their intake of nitrosamines”. The risk assessment conducted by EFSA is over the top. “For our risk assessment we proposed the worst case scenario – says Dieter Schrenk, who led the group of expert authors of the opinion – that is, we assumed that all nitrosamines present in food had the same potential to cause cancer in humans as the more harmful nitrosamine, although this is unlikely”. Applying this method, the conclusion “is that for all age groups of the EU population, the level of exposure to nitrosamines in food is a health concern”. The EFSA report will be sent to the European Commission which will discuss possible legislative initiatives with the Member States.

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