Occurrence of monochloropropanediol and glycidyl esters in infant formula and baby food products from the Danish market

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Fatty acid esters of monochloropropanediol (MCPDEs) and glycidol (GEs) are process contaminantsthat often present in refined vegetable oils. They can also occur in food products containing theseoils such as infant formula or baby food. Upon consumption, 2-MCPDEs, 3-MCPDEs and GEs arehydrolyzed by the gastrointestinal tract into their corresponding free forms (2-MCPD, 3-MCPD, andglycidol, respectively). This is of high concern due to their potential toxicological effects on human.Both free 3-MCPD and glycidol are classified as carcinogens by the International Agency forResearch on Cancer. In a recent scientific report by EFSA in 2016, infant receiving only formula wereat high risks of exposure to 3-MCPDEs and GEs. In 2018, the European Union has published theRegulation No 2018/290 for maximum levels of GEs in vegetable oils and fats, infant formula, andbaby foods. Specifically, the concentrations of GEs in infant formula and baby foods from 1 July2019 onwards must be lower than 50 μg/kg in powder form and 6.0 μg/kg in liquid form. While nolegislation is currently available for 3-MCPD in infant formula and baby food, a tolerable daily intakeof 2 μg/kg body weight has been established by EFSA.In this study, an indirect determination of MCPDEs and GEs by GC-MS/MS was developed andvalidated. The method showed excellent linearity (R2 > 0.9997), precision, and accuracy. The interlabreproducibilities and intra-day repeatabilities were smaller than 9.5%. The recoveries werebetween 91-106% at two spiking levels of 17 μg/kg and 167 μg/kg. The method LODs ranged from0.1-3.2 μg/kg and the method LOQs ranged from 0.5-10.7 μg/kg. The validated method was appliedto analyze 60 infant formula and baby food products commercially available in the Danish market.The samples comprise of powder and liquid infant formula, baby puree and puree powder, andbaby puff and biscuit. MCPDEs and GEs were quantifiable in almost all formulae, puff, biscuit andpuree powders but not in fruit/vegetable based purees. The highest concentrations of 3-MCPDEsand 2-MCPDEs were found in a baby biscuit product at 100 μg/kg and 50 μg/kg, respectively.Meanwhile, a baby puff item contained GEs at 150 μg/kg, the highest among all tested samples.Interestingly, MCPDEs and GEs concentrations are well correlated in all but puffs and biscuits. It ispossible that de novo formation of GEs have taken place during production of these finger foodproducts. On a legislative perspective, all samples regulated by regulation No 2018/290 in this studyshow compliance level of GEs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event9th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 5 Nov 20198 Nov 2019


Conference9th International Symposium on Recent Advances in Food Analysis
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


  • MCPD esters
  • Glycidyl esters
  • Baby food
  • Infant formula
  • Processing contaminants


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