Determination of 3-MCPD esters in edible oil – methods of analysis and comparability of results

Authors

  • Lubomir Karasek,

    1. Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Retieseweg 111, B-2440 Geel, Belgium
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  • Thomas Wenzl,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Retieseweg 111, B-2440 Geel, Belgium
    • Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Retieseweg 111, B-2440 Geel, Belgium Fax: +32-14-571-783
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  • Franz Ulberth

    1. Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Retieseweg 111, B-2440 Geel, Belgium
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Abstract

The discovery of fatty acid esters of 3-chloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) in edible oil products initiated food monitoring campaigns in many EU Member States. As the determination of 3-MCPD esters was new to most laboratories, questions on the reliability of the produced analysis data were raised. In response to this, the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) organised a proficiency test on the determination of 3-chloropropane-1,2-diol esters (3-MCPD esters) in edible oils. The aim of this proficiency test was to scrutinise the capabilities of official food control laboratories, private food control laboratories as well as laboratories from food industry to determine the 3-MCPD esters content of edible oils. The study was carried out in accordance with “The International Harmonised Protocol for the Proficiency Testing of Analytical Chemistry Laboratories” and ISO Guide 43. The test materials dispatched to the participants were: refined palm oil, extra virgin olive oil spiked with 3-chloropropane-1,2-dioleate and 3-MCPD standard solution in sodium chloride. Altogether 41 laboratories from 11 EU Member States, Switzerland and Macedonia subscribed for participation in the study. The analysis task was to determine the 3-MCPD esters content as total 3-MCPD content of the test samples. Participants were free to choose their analysis methods. In total, 34 laboratories reported results to the organisers of the study. The performance of laboratories in the determination of 3-MCPD esters in edible oils was expressed by z-scores. About 56% of the participants performed satisfactorily in the determination of 3-MCPD esters in palm oil and 85% for the spiked extra virgin olive oil test sample. The study revealed that the direct transesterification of the sample without the prior removal of glycidol esters might lead to strong positive bias.

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