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Healthier without 3-MCPD

December 8, 2020


By Oskar Song

A healthy lifestyle protects our families and us from diseases. Apart from exercising, eating food that is free from harmful contaminants play a big role too. However, sometimes there may be contaminants in our food that we may not see with our naked eyes and can have a negative impact on our health if taken for a prolonged period.

One example of such a contaminant is a chemical called 3-monochloropropane diol (3-MCPD). It is an almost colorless viscous oily liquid found mainly in processed food and vegetable oils, refined oils, and food containing oils. The chemical is formed due to chloride and under high temperatures of more than 200 Degrees Celsius. 3-MCPD is a contaminant initially found in acid-hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, a “flavor enhancer” in many processed foods such as various sauces, soups, chili sauce, gravies, and stews. 3-MCPD and its fatty acid esters or Glycidyl esters (GEs) are contaminants produced during the process of refining vegetable oils.

In 2000, the U.K government did a survey and found some 3-MCPD in soy sauces and similar products. The survey reported that more than half of the samples collected from retail outlets contained different levels of 3-MCPD, raising concern on the health impacts of 3-MCPD. Further research in other countries also found the chemical in a wide range of food such as some Asian sauces like the common Asian cooking ingredient, soy sauce, and soy-sauce based products. It has also been found in bread and noodles but in smaller quantities. Researchers also found the chemical in some baby foods and processed cereal-based foods for infants and young children.

Six years later, the European Food Safety Authority studied the potential health risks of 3-MCPD and GE. 3-MCPD became a public health concern because they are possibly genotoxic and carcinogenic. In other words, they can damage our DNA or genetic information within the cell and cause cancer.

Due to its possible adverse public health impacts when consumed in large amounts, the European Food Safety Authority studied and updated the health risks of 3-MCPD and fatty acid esters in food on 21 November 2017. The Authority then announced new maximum limits of 3-MCPD and its related glycidyl esters in young children formula, fish oil, and oils from other marine organisms. The new regulation will be enforced from 1 January 2021 for these products sold in Europe. Products not complying with the maximum levels for 3-MCPD and its fatty acid esters and placed on the market before the date can remain on the shelves for a limited time only.

Our team ensures our palm oil meets international safety standards through a thorough selection process for our Crude Palm Oil (CPO), mitigation procedures, and strategies allowed through advanced refining during the production process. We have been working closely for many years with global brands to meet their specifications. For companies looking to export to Europe, having a reliable partner with the experience, full supply chain excellence, and capability in place is of utmost importance.

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