Health for humans, animals & plants

PAHs and ochratoxin A in coffee

Final report of the priority action A-018-18

The aim of the priority action "A-018-18" was to determine the levels of ochratoxin A and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in roasted coffee. Fifty-two samples from all over Austria were examined. No sample was rejected. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is a mycotoxin formed by molds of the genera Penicillium and Aspergillus. OTA is considered carcinogenic and is also discussed as a cause of kidney disease. Roasted coffee is a foodstuff in which OTA can occur frequently. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are carcinogenic substances formed during incomplete combustion processes. PAHs are formed in industrial food processing during heating and drying or home cooking. PAHs are found in fried, grilled, dried or smoked foods, as well as fats and oils. Drying and roasting coffee beans can also lead to elevated levels. Due to dilution with water, PAHs are usually no longer detectable in the finished brewed coffee.

Last updated: 18.07.2022

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