The FEMA GRAS assessment of furfural used as a flavour ingredient

T. B. Adams, J. Doull, J. I. Goodman, I. C. Munro, P. Newberne, P. S. Portoghese, R. L. Smith, B. M. Wagner, C. S. Weil, L. A. Woods, R. A. Ford

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The Expert Panel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers' Association (FEMA) has assessed the safety of furfural for its continued use as a flavour ingredient. The safety assessment takes into account the current scientific information on exposure, metabolism, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, carcinogenicity and genotoxicity. Furfural was reaffirmed as GRAS (GRASr) as a flavour ingredient under conditions of intended use based on: (1) its mode of metabolic detoxication in humans; (2) its low level of flavour use compared with higher intake levels as a naturally occurring component of food; (3) the safety factor calculated from results of subchronic and chronic studies, (4) the lack of reactivity with DNA; and (5) the conclusion that the only statistically significant finding in the 2-year NTP bioassays, an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas in the high-dose group of male mice, was secondary to pronounced hepatotoxicity. Taken together, these data do not indicate any risk to human health under conditions of use as a flavour ingredient. This evidence of safety is supported by the occurrence of furfural as a natural component of traditional foods, at concentrations in the diet resulting in a 'natural intake' that is at least 100 times higher than the intake of furfural from use as a flavour ingredient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-751
Number of pages13
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1997

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