The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that one of the flavorings used to give smoke taste to meat, cheese or fish, could be toxic to humans.
To reach at the conclusion, the agency looked at 11 smoke flavourings most commonly used across the European Union, and it has now been revealed that several of the flavourings are 'dangerously close to levels which may cause harm to humans'.
AdvertisementThe European Commission is now looking to establish a list of smoke-flavouring products that are completely safe for use in food products.
EFSA said that it 'cannot rule out concerns' about a flavouring called Primary Product AM 01, which is obtained from beech wood.
The wood particles are burnt under controlled conditions and the hot vapours are dissolved in a solvent.
The Panel said the use of the substance "at the intended levels is a safety concern".
"The Panel based its conclusions on the limited data which are currently available as well as conservative - or cautious - intake estimates," the BBC quoted Klaus-Dieter Jany, the chair of EFSA's expert panel on flavourings (CEF Panel) as saying.
"The Panel expressed safety concerns for several smoke flavourings where intake levels could be relatively close to the levels which may cause negative health effects.
"However, this does not necessarily mean that people consuming these products will be at risk as, in order to be on the safe side, the consumption estimates deliberately over-estimate intake levels," Dieter Jany added.
A spokesperson for the Food and Drink Federation which represents smoked food manufacturers said: "We shall be working with FSA and the European Commission in the coming weeks to consider how smoke flavourings may continue to be used safely, noting EFSA's previous statements in respect of smoke flavourings that their safety is relatively high compared to traditional smoking methods."