According to a study by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), at least ten nitrosamines – substances potentially carcinogenic to humans – can be found in daily food products
Charcuterie, processed fish, cocoa… These foods that we use daily could contain carcinogens, called nitrosamines. This is what emerges from a study published this Tuesday, March 28 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and identified by the newspaper The Dispatch. “Our assessment concludes that, for all age groups in the EU population, the level of exposure to nitrosamines in food constitutes a health problem“, alerted Dieter Schrenk, president of the scientific group on contaminants in the food chain, quoted by EFSA in a press release.
“Based on animal studies, we have considered the incidence of liver tumors in rodents as the most critical health effect”, detailed Dieter Schrenk. In particular, the study shows that the most important food group that contributes to exposure to nitrosamines is meat and meat products. These substances, which can also be genotoxic, that is to say liable to damage DNA, are also found in other foods, in particular processed vegetables, cereals, milk and dairy products or even fermented, pickled or spiced foods.
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Balance your diet to prevent risks
In its press release, the EFSA reminded that there are still gaps “in the available knowledge on the presence of nitrosamines in certain specific food categories”. Pending further studies, the agency calls on consumers to balance their diet, by consuming a wider variety of foods, in order to limit their exposure to nitrosamines. A study published last December in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology showed in particular that plants of the Solanaceae family, such as tomato, eggplant and potato, could be beneficial in neutralizing cancer cellswithout damaging healthy cells.