ALUMINIUM IN FOOD - Centre for Food Safety

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ALUMINIUM IN FOOD - Centre for Food Safety

Transcript Of ALUMINIUM IN FOOD - Centre for Food Safety

Risk Assessment Studies Report No. 35
Chemical Hazard Evaluation
ALUMINIUM IN FOOD
May 2009 Centre for Food Safety Food and Environmental Hygiene Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

This is a publication of the Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Under no circumstances should the research data contained herein be reproduced, reviewed, or abstracted in part or in whole, or in conjunction with other publications or research work unless a written permission is obtained from the Centre for Food Safety. Acknowledgement is required if other parts of this publication are used.
Correspondence: Risk Assessment Section Centre for Food Safety Food and Environmental Hygiene Department 43/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. Email: [email protected]
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Table of Contents
Executive Summary Objective Background Scope of Study Methodology
Sampling Plan Laboratory Analysis Dietary Exposure Results Concentrations of aluminium in food Dietary Exposure Soya milk powder including soya-based formula Discussion Limitations of Study Conclusions and Recommendations References Annex: Concentrations of Aluminium in Food Samples

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Risk Assessment Studies Report No. 35
ALUMINIUM IN FOOD
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) has conducted a study on aluminium in food aiming to examine the levels of aluminium in various food products in relation to the use of aluminium-containing food additives, to estimate the potential dietary exposure to aluminium of the population in Hong Kong and to assess the associated health risk, and to examine the local situation of aluminium content in soya milk powder including soya-based formula.
Aluminium-containing food additives have been used in food processing for over a century, as firming agent, raising agent, stabiliser, anticaking agent and colouring matter, etc. and some are permitted to be used in food in many countries. Aluminium is also present in food naturally (normally at low levels).
In 2006, the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has re-evaluated the safety of aluminium and concluded to lower the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI) by seven folds to 1 mg/kg body weight (bw) for aluminium (including additives) due to the potential to affect the reproductive and developing nervous system in experimental animals at doses lower than those used in establishing the previous PTWI. The dietary exposure patterns reported in various countries may exceed this new PTWI. JECFA also noted that dietary exposure to aluminium was expected to be very high for infants fed on soya-based formula due to the high levels of aluminium in soya-based formula.
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Results
During August 2007 and October 2008, the CFS collected from the local retail markets a total of 256 food samples, including (i) steamed bread/bun/cake, (ii) bakery products, (iii) jellyfish, (iv) confectionery with coating, (v) snack including fried snack product, (vi) other food products including pickles, mung bean vermicelli and cheese products, and (vii) powder mix, salt and sugar; and 10 soya milk powder samples including soya-based formula. Laboratory analysis for aluminium was conducted by the Food Research Laboratory of the CFS. Except mung bean vermicelli samples which have been cooked prior to analysis, all other food samples were analysed as they were.
The results showed that high aluminium levels were found in steamed bread/bun/cake (mean: 100 – 320 mg/kg), some bakery products such as muffin (mean: 250 mg/kg), pancake/waffle (mean: 160 mg/kg), coconut tart (mean: 120 mg/kg) and cake (mean: 91 mg/kg), and jellyfish (ready-to-eat form) (mean: 1200 mg/kg). The results demonstrated that aluminium-containing food additives have been widely used in such products.
The average dietary exposure to aluminium of a 60-kg adult was estimated to be 0.60 mg/kg bw/week, which amounted to 60% of the new PTWI established by JECFA. However, the potential health risk of aluminium to high consumers cannot be ruled out. Moreover, some population who
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consume large amount of steamed bread/bun/cake, bakery products such as muffins, pancake/waffle, and jellyfish may be of particular risk.
The main dietary source was “steamed bread/bun/cake” which contributed to 60% of the total exposure, and was followed by “bakery products” and “jellyfish” which contributed to 23% and 10% of the total exposure, respectively.
The above estimation was based on the average consumption data of food group and the corresponding average aluminium concentrations, which might lead to under-estimation, particularly exposure from foods that were found to contain high levels of aluminium. Moreover, the estimation did not include the intake of aluminium from natural food sources, food contact materials and other sources (e.g. drinking water). Furthermore, the current study might not cover all food products with aluminium-containing food additives added.
The results also revealed that aluminium contents in soya-based formula samples (mean: 5 mg/kg) fell within the lower end of the reported range, and the average dietary exposure to aluminium of a 6-kg infant fed on soya-based formula was estimated to be 0.76 mg/kg bw/week, which amounted to 76% of the PTWI. In addition, the aluminium contents in soya milk powder samples (mean: 5 mg/kg) were comparable with those in soya-based formula.
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Conclusions and recommendations Aluminium-containing food additives are widely used in the production
of steamed bread/bun/cake, some bakery products such as muffin, pancake/waffle, coconut tart and cake, and jellyfish. Although the results indicated that it is unlikely to cause adverse health effect of aluminium for the general population, the adverse health effect of aluminium for some population, who regularly consume foods added with aluminium-containing food additives such as steamed bread/bun/cake, bakery products and jellyfish, cannot be ruled out. On the other hand, the results indicated that the infants fed on soya-based formula were unlikely to experience major toxicological effects of aluminium.
The trade is advised to reduce the use of aluminium-containing food additives in preparing food or replace them with other alternatives as far as possible. Information on label including specific food additives used should be accurate. The trade is also advised to develop alternative technique to reduce the use of aluminium-containing food additives during food processing, e.g. production of salted jellyfish. The CFS will work with the trade to reduce the population exposure to aluminium.
The public is advised to maintain a balanced diet so as to avoid excessive exposure to aluminium from a small range of food items. The public is also advised to make reference to the information in the ingredient list on the label to make informed food choices.
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Aluminium in Food
OBJECTIVE This study aims (i) to examine the levels of aluminium in various food
products in relation to the use of aluminium-containing food additives; (ii) to estimate the potential dietary exposure to aluminium of the population in Hong Kong and to assess the associated health risk; and (iii) to examine the local situation of aluminium content in soya milk powder including soya-based formula.
BACKGROUND 2. The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has re-evaluated the safety of aluminium in June 2006 and concluded that aluminium compounds have the potential to affect the reproductive and developing nervous system in experimental animals at doses lower than those used in establishing the previous safety reference and hence reduced the safety reference to a lower value (i.e. the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake (PTWI) was reduced to 1 mg/kg body weight (bw)). Following the setting of a lowered PTWI, JECFA has recommended Codex that the provisions for aluminium-containing food additives included in the Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) should be compatible with the newly established
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safety reference for aluminium compounds. JECFA also confirmed that dietary exposure, particularly through foods containing aluminium-containing food additives, was found to represent the major route of aluminium exposure for the general population.1 The dietary exposures reported in various countries2 would be likely to exceed this new safety reference to a large extent by some population groups who regularly consume foods added with aluminium-containing food additives.1 JECFA also noted that dietary exposure to aluminium was expected to be very high for infants fed on soya-based formula. 1
3. There have been reports about high levels of aluminium being detected in various food products such as steamed bread/bun/cake, bakery products (e.g. muffin, cake and pancake), fried snacks, leavening product, jellyfish and mung bean vermicelli. The high levels of aluminium were probably due to the use of aluminium-containing food additives as firming agent, raising agent or stabiliser in food. 3,4,5,6
4. In view of the new toxicological data of aluminium, public concern and a lack of local data on the situation of food containing aluminium-containing food additives, there is a need to conduct a study to examine the local situation.
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AluminiumFoodExposureLevelsJellyfish