3-MCPD in pre-fried foods
3-MCPD (3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol) is a chemical compound recognized as a contaminant in certain food products, notably forming during the processing of foods subjected to high temperatures, such as the refining of edible oils and various heat-intensive culinary practices. While it is a studied area, its presence and levels in pre-fried foods might be underestimated.

A recent report from Oekotest, a German consumer magazine, has found that over half of the frozen fish sticks tested contain potentially harmful levels of 3-MCPD. Out of the 19 brands evaluated, 11 were found to have excessive amounts of 3-MCPD, along with traces of glycidol, which has mutagenic effects. Fish sticks are made by flash-freezing fish on fishing vessels, then processing them into sticks and pre-frying them before a final freeze onshore. The pre-frying process can lead to the formation of toxic substances when vegetable deep-frying fats are heated.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified 3-MCPD as a possible carcinogen, and studies have shown that it may cause kidney damage in animals. Oekotest's calculations suggest that a child weighing 30 kilograms could exceed the daily maximum intake limit for 3-MCPD by consuming just five fish sticks. Some companies claim their products fall below the maximum threshold for 3-MCPD and are actively working to reduce contaminants by optimizing frying conditions and improving filtration systems. However, Oekotest's results show no significant improvement from previous tests conducted in 2020. The analysis also detected heightened levels of mineral oil components in two brands, an issue not previously encountered.

The presence of 3-MCPD in pre-fried foods raises concerns about the potential health risks associated with its consumption, necessitating analytical monitoring and adherence to regulatory standards. Continued research and vigilance in the processing of pre-fried foods are essential to ensure both the quality of the products and the safety of consumers in relation to 3-MCPD exposure.


Newsletter subscription