nitrites

ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) published on July 7th its revised opinion on the risks associated with the consumption of nitrites and nitrates.

Following the referral by the Directorate General of the French Ministry of Health (DGS), the Directorate General of the French Ministry of Food and Feed (DGAL) and the Directorate General of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), ANSES publishes its expertise on the risks associated with consumption of nitrites and nitrates.

 

Four requests made up the subject of this referral:

  • Evaluating whether a reduction in nitrite and nitrate levels in foodstuffs is likely to significantly increase the risks associated with the growth of pathogenic bacteria in certain foods
  • Identifying ways to reduce consumer exposure to these compounds
  • Evaluating the new scientific knowledge on the mechanisms of transformation of nitrates and nitrites in the body and in foodstuffs
  • Evaluating the new scientific knowledge showing the link between carcinogenesis and consumption of meat products and nitrite-associated with hem iron

Nitrites and nitrates are particularly used as additives (E249 to E252) in cured meats and salted meats but can also be found in significant quantities in vegetable products (market gardening). Water can also contain nitrates (naturally or through agriculture or industrial discharges) and is subject to specific regulations.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 sets maximum nitrate levels in certain plants and Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives sets maximum amounts in cheese and various meat products.

The working group concludes that there is a positive association between exposure to nitrites and nitrates and the risk of colonrectal cancer. For this reason, the Agency believes that the intentional addition of nitrites and nitrates to food should be "as low as reasonably achievable" should be made. (SC)

For more details, the document is available at the following the link given below.

 

Your PLUS: AGROLAB determines nitrite and nitrate levels in all foods

Foodstuffs

Nitrate (LOQ) (mg/kg)

Nitrite (LOQ) (mg/kg)

Meat & meat products

< 20

< 1

Fish & seafood

< 20

< 1

Milk & dairy products

< 3

< 0,4

Fruits & vegetables

< 20

< 1

 

Link: https://www.anses.fr/fr/content/avis-r%C3%A9vis%C3%A9-et-rapport-de-lanses-relatif-aux-risques-associ%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-la-consommation-de-nitrites 

 

Author: Serge Campagne

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