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Reduction of Nitrosamines in Beer - Review of a Success Story
Lachenmeier, D.W., Fgel, D.

Due to their carcinogenic properties the occurrence of nitrosamines in beer raised major concerns in the 1980s. Since then, the production technologies were changed, especially to minimize nitrosamine formation during malt kilning. In this study, our systematic results of nitrosamine analysis between 1992 and 2006 as well as results of a computer-assisted literature review about nitrosamines in beer are reported. The technical threshold value of 0.5 g/kg NDMA in beer was exceeded by 70 % of all samples in 1978. The incidence was lower in 1980 (23 %) and 1982 (6 %). Our results show that the incidence was 5 % in the 1990s, whereas it was only 1 % since 2000 (only 6 of 418 samples had concentrations above the threshold value between 2000 and 2006). It may be concluded that nowadays beer is nearly negligible compared to other sources of NDMA intake in human nutrition. This almost complete prevention of NDMA in beer can be seen as a success story of the brewing industry. However, our literature review shows that nitrosamines may still be a problem in beers brewed in developing countries.

Descriptors: nitrosamines, N-nitrosodimethylamine, beer, review, malt

BrewingScience - Monatsschrift fr Brauwissenschaft, 60 (May/June 2007), pp. 84-89