Analytical Science news

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15 August 2018

Reducing sample testing times for 3-MCPD and glycidol analysis

Two contaminates in processed oils that are coming under greater scrutiny are 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) and glycidol esters (GE). These compounds are formed in oil when refined at high temperatures (>150oC). Refining is necessary for food oils to ensure safety and palatability. Unfortunately, it can also trigger the formation of 3-MCPD and GE which have been found to have harmful carcinogenic and mutagenic effects.

The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) is leading the charge in assessing the risks associated with 3-MCPD and GE and has recently advised on the safe intake levels in oils and some food products through their expert panel on contaminants which first assessed the potential risks of 3-MCPD in 2016. The knowledge around 3-MCPD and GE is growing, and other countries are likely going to follow Europe’s lead in 3-MCPD and GE testing.

Presently, New Zealand oil refiners and food producers need to send their samples abroad to be tested for 3-MCPD and GE. Cawthron Institute in Nelson has developed a testing method based on the German Society for Fat Science’s methods (DGF Standard Methods, Section C-Fats, C-VI 18 (10) and AOCS (AOCS Cd 29c-13) to determine 3-MCPD and GE in oil. This method uses gas chromatography with mass spectroscopy detection (GCMS) to determine total 3-MCPD in its esterified and free forms and for the indirect determination of glycidyl esters.

Having this capability in New Zealand will significantly reduce the time taken for samples to be analysed and means that Cawthron can work directly with local companies to meet their analytical needs.

If you want to know more about 3-MCPD and GE testing, please contact Dr Matt Miller at Cawthron Institute.