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What you should know about 3-MCPD

What is 3-MCPD?

3-MCPD or 3-monochloropropane-1, 2-diol belong to a group of chemical contaminants known as chloropropanols.

How is 3-MCPD formed?

3-MCPD is a by-product which is formed during the hydrolysis process in the manufacturing of Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP). It is formed as a result of the reaction between concentrated hydrochloric acid and glycerol (vegetable fats) in food proteins. It is not added to foods but it is a carry-over effect when HVP is used as food ingredient.

What are the effects of 3-MCPD to human health?

Studies have shown that 3-MCPD is a substance that causes cancer in rodents when exposed to high doses over a long period of time. However, the effect of 3-MCPD in humans is still under review.

Who is most at risk to the exposure to 3-MCPD?

Consumers who regularly take foods containing 3-MCPD are most at risk to the exposure of this substance.

What kind of foods contains 3-MCPD?

Generally, foods which contain acid-HVP as flavour enhancer will contain 3-MCPD such as:

  • Flavoured sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauce.
  • oup stock.
  • Flavour enhancer.
  • Mixed ‘Gravy’.
  • Flavoured Snacks.
  • HVP sauce.
  • Emulsified sauces.

Does 3-MCPD exists in soy sauce?

Soy sauce which is produced using traditional methods with added HVP is free from 3-MCPD

What measures should be taken by consumers?

The Ministry of Health (MOH) continues to advise the public to:

  • Practice a healthy lifestyle
  • Eat a balanced diet and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Take less foods containing excessive amount of 3-MCPD

What are the steps taken by the government to overcome this problem?

  • MOH conducts continuous monitoring on foods containing 3-MCPD to ensure the level of 3-MCPD is below the permitted level and safe for consumption.
  • The risk assessment conducted by MOH on foods containing 3-MCPD showed that there is no appreciable-risk from 3-MCPD consumption to Malaysian consumers.

What is the permitted level for 3-MCPD in foods?

The maximum permitted proportion of 3-MCPD in specified foods is stated in Regulation 38A and the Fourteenth A Schedule of the Food Regulations 1985 as follows

Food
Maximum Permitted Proportion in Foods(mg/kg)
All foods containing acid hydrolysed vegetable protein (liquid foods)
0.02
All foods containing acid hydrolysed vegetable protein (solid foods)
0.05
Acid hydrolysed vegetable protein
1.0

Last reviewed : 3 April 2014
Writer : Pn. Norrani binti Eksan
Reviewer : Pn. Norrani binti Eksan

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