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Questions and answers on furan in food

Updated BfR FAQ of 28 May 2020

Furan is a volatile compound that can form when food is heated. Particularly high concentrations of furan are found in roasted food such as coffee and convenience foods that are subjected to high temperatures in closed containers.

In studies with rats and mice, high doses of furan lead to cancer. How exactly furan causes cancer in animal studies has not yet been conclusively elucidated. In addition, studies in rats show that long-term intake of furan can cause damage to the liver.

Certain groups of consumers who regularly ingest high amounts of furan due to their eating habits could, therefore, be at risk. This applies in particular to infants, who may be exposed to comparatively high levels of furan due to regular consumption of ready-to-eat baby food.

Consumers can influence the intake of furan via food through their eating habits. Furthermore, the formation of furan during food preparation can be significantly minimised by using moderate preparation conditions ("Don't char it; lightly brown it"). The evaporation of volatile furan from food is promoted by stirring.



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Updated BfR FAQ
Questions and answers on furan in food 113.9 KB


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