Findings of the EFSA Data Collection on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Food


European Food Safety Authority

There was an overwhelming response from Member States to the call for information on
PAHs. Eighteen countries submitted results to which we are very grateful. Some Member
States went to an extra effort to collect information on products with scarce data. The effort
from laboratories in Spain to collect data on cocoa butter was much appreciated as was the
effort of the United Kingdom to collect information on food supplements. Of course
Germany should also be acknowledged for their excellent testing system providing more
than half of the samples for the analysis.

Scientific Report of EFSA
Question Number
24 September 2007
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
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No abstract available


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) can be formed from a variety of combustion and pyrolysis processes. Humans can be exposed to PAHs through different routes. For non-smokers, the major route of exposure is from food with a minor contribution from inhaled air. In cigarette smokers, the contribution from smoking and food may be of similar magnitude. Food can be contaminated from environmental sources, industrial food processing and from home food preparation.

The original report was published on the EFSA website 24/09/2007. It has undergone a major revision to correct for a unit mistake in one substantial Member State submission and it has also been updated with new data to match the recently published EFSA opinion on the subject.