EU food safety agency issues warning over potentially carcinogenic substances 

According to a recent report from the European Food Safety Authority, many processed foods could pose a health risk because of the levels of 10 different nitrosamine substances. 

The assessment found that, at the current exposure levels, the nitrosamine in food could be a concern to consumers of all ages, as they could cause cancer and be genotoxic. 

Nitrosamines sometimes form during food production and are common in cured meats, and particularly in cooked bacon. They can also be found in a range of other food products, including beer, some types of cheese, processed fish, beer, soy sauce, and nonfat dry milk. 

The EFSA carried out an assessment to see if nitrosamines could be harmful to EU citizens based on the levels of exposure. It also consulted experts before drafting its final report. 

The chair of the agency Dieter Schrenk said in a statement that “the level of exposure to nitrosamines in food raises a health concern. To ensure a high level of consumer protection, we created a worst-case scenario for our risk assessment,

However, the report also noted that there are still substantial gaps in the knowledge scientists have about nitrosamines in different types of foods and more data is needed on the subject. 

The report concluded that consumers can protect themselves from potential harm from nitrosamines by focusing on enjoying a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods. 

Preventing diseases and promoting a healthy diet is an important part of the EU’s most recent health agenda. For decades, scientists have believed that there could be a link between nutrition and the risk of developing cancer, and simple changes to reduce the risks. 

The results of EFSA’s investigation will now be shared with the European Commission so it can discuss potential risk management approaches and make recommendations to national authorities for how to address the issue going forward.  


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