How heavy beer consumption increases exposure to ‘poisons’, by researchers
Researchers from the University of Valencia (Spain) have analysed the mycotoxins produced by certain microscopic fungi in beer and dried fruits, such as figs and raisins, confirming that these products meet food regulations. Only for heavy beer drinkers – who drink more than a litre a day -, the contribution of this commodity to the daily intake is not negligible, approaching or even exceeding the safety levels.
Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by fungi that contaminate fruits, cereals and derivative products.
Scientists from the University of Valencia (UV) have analysed those of the Fusarium genus in 154 brands of beer on the market in Europe.
The results, published in the journal Food Chemistry, confirm that the average consumer’s exposure to these toxins is low and that they carry no associated toxicological risk. Even the two most abundant, deoxynivalenol or DON – which appeared in almost 60 per cent of samples – and the so-named HT-2 – present in 9 per cent of cases – are present at “levels that cannot be deemed high,” as Doctors Houda Berrada and Yelko Rodríguez, from the UV Department of Preventive Medicine and co-authors of the study, explain to SINC.
The average concentrations of DON and HT-2 detected in beers approached 30 µg/L. There is no maximum legal limit of mycotoxins in these drinks, but in general this value is considered low if compared to the maximum DON limit established by EU legislation for cereal-based foods, set at 200 µg DON/kg.
So, the study highlights that, in people who drink a lot of beer, the contribution of these harmful substances to daily intake “is not negligible, approaching or even exceeding the safety levels.” The maximum tolerable daily intake (TDI) established provisionally by the Scientific Committee on Food, an organisation that advises the European Commission, is taken as a reference.