Review of the potential health impact of β-casomorphins and related peptides


European Food Safety Authority

This Scientific Report was prepared by DATEX with the cooperation of AMU. The European
Food Safety Authority wishes to thank the members of the DATEX Working Group on β-
casomorphins for the preparation of this Review:
Ivano De Noni, Richard J. FitzGerald, Hannu J. T. Korhonen, Yves Le Roux, Chris T.
Livesey, Inga Thorsdottir, Daniel Tomé, Renger Witkamp.

Scientific Report of EFSA
Question Number
3 February 2009
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Download Article (968.89 KB)

No abstract available


EFSA has carried out a detailed review of the available scientific literature that addresses possible health effects of β-casomorphins and related peptides, and in particular β-casomorphin-7 (BCM7), a peptide sequence present in the milk protein β-casein. A few studies have suggested that BCM7 may contribute to increased risk of certain non-communicable diseases, such as autism, cardiovascular diseases and type I diabetes. EFSA undertook this work as part of its regular monitoring and assessment of possible emerging risks associated with the food chain.

Peptides are fragments of proteins that can be released during digestion of food or in some cases also during food processing. There have been claims of both health benefits and risks in relation to peptides.

EFSA decided to establish a Working Group in order to review the scientific literature on this subject and assess the need for EFSA to carry out a formal risk assessment.

Based on this review, EFSA concluded that a cause and effect relationship is not established between the dietary intake of BCM7, related peptides or their possible protein precursors and non-communicable diseases. Consequently, a formal EFSA risk assessment is not recommended.

Review of the potential health impact of β-casomorphins and related peptides