Med. Weter. 76 (8), 463-475, 2020

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in traditionally smoked products obtained from raw materials from native animal breeds
Smoking is one of the oldest methods of preserving meat, fish, cheese and some fruits, which results in a specific colour, taste and aroma of the treated products. Smoking causes the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Although these compounds endow smoked products with a special taste and aroma, they are also cancerogenic and genotoxic. The aim of this study was to investigate the levels of PAH in traditionally smoked meat, fish and dairy products obtained from raw materials from native animal breeds. PAH levels were determined by HRGC-HRMS (CZ_SOP_D06_06_180 – except chap. –, l, 11.3.4 (US EPA 429, ISO 11338)). Among 26 smoked meat samples analysed, lamb ham did not meet any of the applicable limits set by law, whereas one pork ham and beef jerky did not meet the limits set by EU regulation no. 835/2011, but met the limits set by EU regulation no. 1327/2014. Among 35 sausages, 5 did not meet any applicable limits. The highest PAH content and percentage excess over PAH critical limits was observed in kabanos sausages. None of the smoked fish products exceeded the PAH critical limits. The cheese samples had trace levels of benzo[a]pyrene, with the exception of small cheeses (4.5 μg/kg), Leda cheese (4.4 μg/kg), and hot-smoked goat whey cheese Ritta (17.0 μg/kg). Currently, there are no legal critical limits for PAH in smoked cheese products. Small cheeses contained high levels of naphthalene, reaching 1200-1300 μg/kg, and of acenapthylene, reaching 1200 μg/kg. PAH levels in traditionally smoked products depend on various factors, including the raw material, fat content of the material, spices and functional additives used, type of casing, type of heat treatment, smoking temperature, dryness level of the material, type and structure of the smoking chamber, type and humidity of wood used for smoking, smoke generation method, additional equipment in the smoking chamber, method of collecting samples for analysis, experience and skills of the smoker, frequency of cleaning the smoking chamber, as well as time and conditions of storage of smoked products. These factors should be given special attention in the traditional smoking process.
Keywords: meat products, fish, cheese, traditional smoking, PAHs, benzo(a)pyrene