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The process contaminants MCPD and MCPD fatty acid esters, together with glycidyl fatty acids, are not desired in foodstuffs. The higher levels of contamination in baby food or products made with palm oil, such as nut nougat creams and puff pastry products, are a subject of public debate. Retailers and manufacturers are increasingly under pressure to check their products accordingly. SGS laboratories can support this process using validated analysis and reliably detect the contaminants.


Monochloropropanediol (MCPD), glycidol and their derivatives can be formed by heating fatty and salt-containing foods. These process contaminants show a carcinogenic effect in animal experiments, while glycidol is proven to be genotoxic.

The European Commission (2014/661/EU) therefore recommends that the food industry regularly has their products checked by a laboratory for any contamination by 2 and 3-MCPD, 2 and 3-MCPD fatty acid esters and glycidyl fatty acid esters. The focus is on the following product groups, in addition to refined oils and fats: Baby and infant milk, nut nougat creams, sauces, bread spreads, margarines, processed fish and meat products, vegetarian meat substitutes, smoked food, bread, baked products, cakes and snack products. The problematic contaminants discussed here are primarily produced through deodorisation during oil and fat refinement, and during food preparation such as roasting, smoking and frying.

Toolbox for minimisation of fatty acid esters

The food industry has already set important milestones in numerous areas regarding the reduction of unwanted fatty acid esters. SGS experts contributed to the creation of the BLL Toolbox, which has already proven itself in practice. This toolbox brings together all knowledge and experience currently available in research and foodstuff technology aimed at reducing the content of MCPD and glycidyl fatty acid esters. The toolbox is therefore a helpful assistant for concerned producers.

Limit values for 3-MCPD

In March 2016, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a comprehensive risk assessment for 3-MCPD fatty acid esters and related compounds. The tolerable daily intake level (TDI) for 3-MCPD was also recalculated and reduced from 2 μg/kg body weight to 0.8 μg/kg body weight. Experts expect that the specific top limits for 3-MCPD and glycidyl fatty acid esters in various foodstuffs will also be specified in the near future.

Commissioning laboratory analyses

The independent testing laboratories at SGS use various validated methods for the determination of MCPD and glycidyl fatty acid esters and their derivatives. The spectrum comprises all relevant compounds.

By applying different methods, we can also achieve very low determination limits for various foods. This allows us to also test for the requirements of the EFSA, e.g. with regard to infant nutrition. Contact us at any time if you need to have your products tested in a laboratory. We can also advise you about the correct choice of methods and about minimisation strategies.


SGS Germany GmbH
Rödingsmarkt 16
D-20459 Hamburg
t +49 40 30101 686

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