FSA happy with meat safety

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Meat products, Chemistry, Food, Uk

Concerns that uncooked meats and meat products on sale in the UK
could contain high levels of the potentially harmful chemical
1,3-dichloropropanol (1,3-DCP) have proven unfounded following an
investigation by the government-funded Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The investigation was following up the results of a Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) survey that found 1,3-DCP in samples of cooked and uncooked meats and meat products bought in Australia. Although there was no direct link between the meat sold in Australia and that sold in the UK, the findings were of importance because 1,3-DCP had not been found in such food before, and some of the samples contained 1,3-DCP when 3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD, the precursor of 1,3-DCP) was not detected, the FSA said.

3-MPCD and 1,3-DCP both belong to a group of chemicals called chloropropanols. 3-MCPD has been found in many foods at low levels as a result of processing. There is concern that these chemicals could cause harm to people if consumed at high levels over a long period of time.

To find out if 1,3-DCP was present in meat and meat products on sale in the UK, 28 samples of beef, pork and lamb sausages, mince and whole portions of meat were bought. The Central Science Laboratory analysed cooked and uncooked samples for 1,3-DCP and 3-MCPD.

1,3-DCP was not detected in any of the samples. Low levels of 3-MCPD were detected in five of the cooked samples. This was not unexpected because low levels have been found previously in similar foods. The Agency stressed that there was no need for people to change their diets as a result of the findings.

An Agency-commissioned research project investigating the factors that influence the formation of 3-MCPD in foods is due to be completed later this year, and the results will be used to advise the food industry on any measures that can be taken to reduce levels of 3-MCPD. AT present, there is no legal limit for 3-MCPD in any of the meat products tested​.

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