The focus of the HEATOX project, which is an international collaboration, is health risks recently discovered associated with hazardous compounds in heat treated carbohydrate-rich foods where substantial amounts of acrylamide and similar compounds can be formed. HEATOX will explore their mechanisms of formation, impact of raw material composition, inhibiting factors, cooking and processing methods in industry and households with the to control and minimise the formation of hazardous compounds.
Modern science has shown that heating of meat and other protein rich foods can generate various kinds of potentially hazardous compounds, some of which are genotoxic and carcinogenic.<P>
Acrylamide is given particular emphasis, however, it is likely that also other compounds such as unsaturated carbonyl compounds and furans, representing potential health hazards, are formed during heating. It is important that efforts in reducing acrylamide exposure at the same time do not increase the formation of other hazardous compounds.
To reduce the exposure, validated methods for food analysis and exposure biomarkers will be developed. Different hazards will be explored and characterised in various toxicological models, e.g. genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, neuro-developmental and reproductive toxicity. Molecular characterisation by toxicogenomics - will be performed. Both experimental animal- and cell systems and also humans will be studied. Particularly the relevance of low dose exposure, bioavailability and extrapolation from experimental systems to humans will be addressed using biomarkers of exposure and effect such as haemoglobin adducts, assessment of DNA binding using accelerator mass spectrometry and a hypersensitive micronucleus assay measuring genotoxicity. The exposure a ssessment and data on hazard characterisation, including data generated outside HEATOX, will be combined in a risk characterisation of intake heat-treated carbohydrate rich foods.
For more information about this project, please visit the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/food_quality/projects/032_en.ht…; target="_blank">European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe</a> Web site.