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Update Jan 1, 2014: mg/l unit added 


Introduction

Biohit has carried out new measurements of acetaldehyde concentrations in quarks and soy sauces. Acetaldehyde is a substance with apple flavor that is especially rich in food prepared with a fermentation process such as alcohol beverages, vinegar and dairy products. Research agency IARC has classified acetaldehyde as a Group I human carcinogen in 2009.

Materials and Methods

Biohit measured the concentrations of carcinogenic acetaldehyde in viili products generally on sale in Finland. The sample consisted of 21 different brands selected randomly from grocery outlets in the Greater Helsinki Region.

The analysis performed using gas-chromatography method that has been validated by Biohit (see below “Measurements”).

Results

The analysis demonstrated that the concentrations of carcinogenic acetaldehyde in viili products varied between 0-12 µM (0-0,5 mg/l). Eleven brands contained no concentrations of carcinogenic acetaldehyde. The highest concentration measured was 12 µM (0,5 mg/l).

Conclusions

In previous studies on yogurts, the concentrations of carcinogenic acetaldehyde varied between 14-394 µM (0,6-17,3 mg/l). Only in one yogurt brand the concentration of carcinogenic acetaldehyde was under the threshold level (100 µM or possibly significantly less, 4,4 mg/l or possiply significantly less). In all other brands, the concentration was equal to or greater than 205 µM (9 mg/l). Thus, the measured yogurts contained on the average 20 times higher levels of carcinogens than viili products.

CEO Semi Korpela, Biohit Oyj: “Finnish consumers should have the right to know that the food they eat is safe and avoid accumulation of acetaldehyde. Unfortunately, information on acetaldehyde is not included on labels.”

Measurements

Methods and Equipment:
Head-space gaschromatography adopted from Pikkarainen et al. (1979) and Jokelainen et al. (1994), as well as NIOSH ((National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety) (1994) methods.
Clarus 500 Gaschromatoraph, BAC-2 capillary column, TurboMatrix HS-110 sampler (PerkinElmer Finland, Turku).

Calibrators and Controls:
Acetaldehyde, CAS 75-07-0 (Supelco, Bellefonte, PA, USA, cat# 506788), purity 99,9%. The samples were prepared by weighing.
 
Method Validation:
According to Biohit’s quality system (ISO 9001:2008, ISO13485:2003).
The validation was performed, when applicable, according to following standards and directives (the method is not accreditated):
Guidance for Industry. Q2B Validation of Analytical Procedures: Methodology. ICH November 1996.
2002/657/EC Commission Decision of 12 August 2002, implementing Council Directive 96/23/EC concerning the performance of analytical methods and the interpretation of results (Text with EEA relevance).


References:

Jokelainen K, Roine RP, Väänänen H, Färkkilä M, Salaspuro M. In vitro acetaldehyde formation by human colonic bacteria. Gut 1994; 35: 1271-4.
NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), Fourth Edition. ALDEHYDES, SCREENING: METHOD 2539, Issue 2, dated 15 August 1994 - 10 pages.
Pikkarainen PH, Salaspuro MP, Lieber CS.A method for the determination of "free" acetaldehyde in plasma. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1979 Jul;3(3):259-61.
 

Read more: Specify the acetaldehyde concentrate in foodstuff with Biohit laboratory
 

 

Acetaldehyde Group I human carcinogen

In October 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which forms part of the World Health Organization, classified acetaldehyde included in and generated endogenously from alcoholic beverages as a Group I human carcinogen. Acetaldehyde belongs to the same risk class as, for example, asbestos and tobacco.
Specific microbes (bacteria and yeasts) in the gastrointestinal tract are the most important source of acetaldehyde exposure to the human body. These microbes produce acetaldehyde from alcohol and, in certain circumstances, from sugar. Unlike the liver, the microbes and the intestinal mucosa cannot remove the acetaldehyde, and due to the effect of alcohol, an abundance of acetaldehyde accumulates in the saliva and elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. Acetaldehyde is a substance that accumulates in the body from several sources, continuous exposure to it thereby severely increasing the risk of cancer to various organs.

Source: IARC, Secretan et al (2009)

Read more: Research information on Acetium