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Some cheeses exceed contaminant levels recommended by EU
Date:2/19/2013

Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) have analysed more than 60 brands of cheese commonly available in supermarkets. The concentration of organochloride contaminants in the majority of the samples was lower than levels set by European legislation, but in a few cases it was higher. The scientists recommend that an eye is kept on polychlorinated biphenyls as they are carcinogenic. The majority of these compound concentrations appeared in organic cheeses.

"In general, chloride contaminant residue levels were low in the cheese samples that we analysed, complying with limits set out by Spanish and European legislation, except in a few cases," as explained to SINC by Luis Domnguez-Boada and Octavio Prez-Luzardo, those in charge of the Environment and Health Research Group (Toxicology Unit) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

For more than a year, a team at the university analysed 61 common brands of cheese (54 conventional and 7 organic) and they found that in a small amount the 'dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls' (dioxin-like PCBs or DL-PCBs) exceeded EU-established levels.

Recommendations state that levels of this contaminant should not exceed 3 picograms WHO-TEQ per gram of cheese fat, but in some samples up to 76 pg WHO-TEQ/g were detected. The TEQ (toxic equivalent) value is a toxicity measurement promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This organisation also recommends that 'tolerable daily intake' is lower than 2 pg WHO-TEQ of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds per kilogram of body weight. "But if the most contaminated brands of cheese are consumed then this quantity could be exceeded, thus implying an increased possibility of harmful health effects," warns Doctor Domnguez-Boada.

The risks caused by the continued intake of chloride contaminants have not yet been unequivocally confirmed but their carcinogenicity and mutagenicity are known, or in other words how
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Contact: SINC
info@agenciasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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