• Open Access

Analysis of occurrence of 3-monochloropropane-1, 2-diol (3-MCPD) in food in Europe in the years 2009-2011 and preliminary exposure assessment


  • European Food Safety Authority

  • Correspondence: dcm@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: EFSA wishes to thank all the European countries that provided occurrence data for 3-MCPD in food and supported the consumption data collection for the Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database and EFSA's staff members: Francesco Vernazza and Luisa Ramos Bordajandi for the preparatory work on this scientific output, Davide Arcella, Enikô Varga for the support provided to this scientific output. Special thanks to Peter Fürst, Mary Gilsenan, Chiara Guescini and Thomas Wenzl for reviewing the final report and providing valuable comments.
  • Approval date: 20 September 2013
  • Published date: 26 September 2013
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2013-00251
  • On request from: European Commission


3-Monochloropropane-1, 2-diol (3-MCPD) is a food processing contaminant classified as a possible human carcinogen for which the SCF established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 2 µg/kg b.w. This report describes levels of 3-MCPD in food, based on 1 235 analytical results collected in European Member States from 2009 to 2011 and submitted to EFSA. Left censored results (59 % of the total) were substituted by lower bound (LB), upper bound (UB) and middle bound (MB) values. The mean occurrence of 3-MCPD in 11 food groups and 34 sub-groups (overall, 45 food groups) was calculated as a MB estimate and range [MB (LB-UB)]. In the majority of food groups, mean occurrence values ranged from ‘not detected’ to 50 µg/kg. Higher values were found in ‘Animal and vegetable fats and oils’ [1020 (960 – 1090) µg/kg] and its sub-groups. Mean and 95th percentile (P95) dietary exposure for the total population was estimated by combining mean occurrence data and consumption data at individual level from the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database. The mean exposure to 3 MCPD was < 1 µg/kg b.w. per day in most population groups (age groups across surveys; N = 60 out of 64). In four population groups mean dietary exposure was between 1 and 1.5 µg/kg b.w. per day. The P95 of exposure was below 2 µg/kg b.w. per day in 56 population groups and between 2 and 3 µg/kg b.w. per day in the remaining eight population groups. ‘Margarine and similar products’ was the main contributor to the exposure in 45 population groups (70 %) and ‘Vegetable fats and oils (excluding walnut oil)’ in 18 population groups (28 %). Other relevant contributors were ‘Bread and rolls’ (contribution to the total exposure in the range 6–26 %), ‘Fine bakery wares’ (4-29 %) and ‘Preserved meat (smoked)’ (3-18 %).