PAHs in Food Supplements Survey Published

Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in food supplements are of low concern to consumer health, according to a survey published by the Agency today.

PAHs are a group of chemicals present in the environment as a result of burning fuel and other pollution. Scientific experts recommend that exposure to PAHs from food should be kept as low as possible.
In the survey 210 food supplements were bought from a variety of supermarkets, pharmacies and health stores across the UK, as well as from mail order and internet companies, including those overseas.

The highest levels of PAHs were found in plant-derived products, such as ginseng, but were found less often in multivitamin or single vitamin products. Low levels were generally found in fish oils and plant oils.

The Agency does not recommend that consumers change their current food supplement choices on the basis of this survey.

As exposure to PAHs should be as low as possible, the companies whose products contained the highest levels were advised to investigate ways to reduce them.

The survey forms part of the programme of ongoing surveys of food carried out by the Agency looking at chemical contaminants.

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