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TDK conference 2020

Quality and quantity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked cheese according to the smoking process
Győri Rebeka - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Food Hygiene
Supervisor: Dr. Katalin Lányi


Smoking different foods have always been a popular preservation method. Smoking has been known not only for it’s beneficial antibacterial and antioxidant effects but for its sensorial character and particular flavour. However, this method also includes some negative effects on the treated items. Guillen et al. in 1997 first concluded that as the result of high-temperature heat treatment and especially in the case of smoking, different kind of mutagenic and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) appear in foods. In 1999 Phillips examined that on consumption, PAHs can be actively engaged in metabolic activation in human cells. In the reaction, several diolepoxides will be released, which have adherence to genetic material DNA and tissues leading to mutation and tumours. In the last couple of years, several experiments have been published about the appearance of these compounds in smoked meats and fish, but only a few articles have been dealing with PAHs in smoked cheese, even although contamination of high-fat cheese has a higher risk considering the lipophilic character of PAHs.

In our research we have examined different kind of commercial smoked cheeses for grilling that can be purchased in local supermarkets. We have used samples both before the recommended processing procedure took place and after it as well. Besides examining the EU PAH4 contamination of cheeses some other measurements have been taken on the colorimetric characteristics and the dry matter of the cheeses. When evaluating our research results we searched for a connection between the processing method and the PAH contamination of the treated cheese. We have studied if there is a causal link between the dry matter, the PAH concentration, the colorimetric characteristics, and the original parameters of the cheese (such as the fat content). Assessments were made on the statistics gathered during our research which we used to reveal the significance of the correlation between the different smoking methods and the PAH contamination.

In conclusion, we have formulated proposals on the least hazardous smoking technologies and processing methods for the consumers. The PAH contamination depends not only on the cooking time but on the cooking temperature as well, therefore there is a significant difference in the PAH contamination between the samples grilled on an open flame and the samples cooked in a frying pan.

In summary, smoked cheese has always been explicitly popular by consumers for sensory and dietary reasons, therefore the food safety of these food products is essential from the farm to the fork.

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