Glycidol and glycidyl fatty acid esters
2,3-Epoxy-1-propanol fatty acid esters (glycidyl esters) are process contaminants that form during the refinement of vegetable oils and fats, as is the case with 3-monochloro-1,2-propandiol fatty acid esters (3-MCPD-esters).
Which foods may contain glycidyl esters?
Glycidyl esters may be present in any foods that contain refined vegetable oils and fats. So far the highest levels were found in refined palm oil. It can be assumed that foods with a large share of palm oil also contain the highest levels of glycidyl esters.
What are the risks of glycidyl esters to human health?
Glycidyl esters may be broken down in the process of digestion and release glycidol. Glycidol has been classified as genotoxic and carcinogenic by various scientific organisations such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the German Commission of the Senate on Maximum Allowance Concentrations (MAK-Kommission). Due to a lack of toxicological data on glycidyl esters, it remains unclear to this date to what extent glycidol is split off from ester-bound glycidol in the body. For risk assessment therefore, the worst-case scenario is applied, as for 3-MCPD esters. In other words, it is assumed that fatty acid-bound glycidol is fully broken down into free glycidol in the human organism.
ifp Institut für Produktqualität performs the detection and quantification of glycidyl esters after alkaline hydrolysis and derivatisation using gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GC/MS).