The FEMA GRAS assessment of alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes and related substances used as flavor ingredients.

Adams TB, Gavin CL, Taylor SV, Waddell WJ, Cohen SM, Feron VJ, Goodman J, Rietjens IM, Marnett LJ, Portoghese PS, Smith RL
Food and Chemical Toxicology: An International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 2008


This publication is the 12th in a series of safety evaluations performed by the Expert Panel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA). In 1993, the Panel initiated a comprehensive program to re-evaluate the safety of more than 1700 GRAS flavoring substances under conditions of intended use. Since then, the number of flavoring substances has grown to more than 2200 chemically-defined substances. Elements that are fundamental to the safety evaluation of flavor ingredients include exposure, structural analogy, metabolism, toxicodynamics and toxicology. Scientific data relevant to the safety evaluation for the use of aliphatic, linear alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes and structurally related substances as flavoring ingredients are evaluated. The group of substances was reaffirmed as GRAS (GRASr) based, in part, on their self-limiting properties as flavoring substances in food; their low level of flavor use; the rapid absorption and metabolism of low in vivo concentrations by well-recognized biochemical pathways; adequate metabolic detoxication at much higher levels of exposure in humans and animals; the wide margins of safety between the conservative estimates of intake and the no-observed-adverse effect levels determined from subchronic and chronic studies. While some of the compounds described here have exhibited positive in vitro genotoxicity results, evidence of in vivo genotoxicity and carcinogenicity occurs only under conditions in which animals are repeatedly and directly exposed to high irritating concentrations of the aldehyde. These conditions are not relevant to humans who consume alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes as flavor ingredients at low concentrations distributed in a food or beverage matrix.


Adams TB, Gavin CL, Taylor SV, et al. The FEMA GRAS assessment of alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes and related substances used as flavor ingredients. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(9):2935-2967.

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