The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says one of the flavorings used to give a smoked flavor to meat and cheese may be toxic to humans.

Smoke flavorings can be added to foods to give them a “smoked” flavor, as an alternative to traditional smoking.  Eleven smoke flavorings commonly used in the European Union were examined by EFSA, and several of the flavorings were dangerously close to levels which may cause harm to humans.  

smoked-cheese-featured.jpgKlaus-Dieter Jany, the chair of EFSA’s expert panel on flavorings (CEF Panel) said, “The Panel based its conclusions on the limited data which are currently available, as well as conservative or cautious intake estimates.”

“The Panel expressed safety concerns for several smoke flavorings where intake levels could be relatively close to the levels which may cause negative health effects,” added Klaus-Dieter Jany.

The European Commission said that it will establish a list of smoke-flavoring products that are safe for use in food.

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 flavorings may continue to be used safely, noting EFSA’s previous statements in respect to smoke flavorings that their safety is relatively high compared to traditional smoking methods.”