Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content in sausage smoked using a polish traditional method

  • K. Choroszy
  • K. Tereszkiewicz
Keywords: smoking, food, safety, PAHs, quality management, smoking time, traditional smoking


Smoking is one of the oldest and most frequently used methods of preserving meat and its products. In Poland, smoking using a traditional method is still a commonly practised form of preserving meat products. It is conducted in smoking chambers, using a process in which the hardwood of deciduous trees with the level of humidity between 10% and 30% is burnt as the source of smoke and heat. The aim of this research was to assess the impact of selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on traditionally smoked sausage, a cured meat product. The presence of PAHs in the environment and food products is undesirable due to their proven carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic properties. In the present study, the level of four PAHs, which included benzo(a)pyrene, chrysene, benzo(a)antracene and benzo(b)fluoranthene, was measured using highperformance
liquid chromatography. The temperature in the furnace was maintained between 600 and 850°C. The duration of smoking was varied – 4-5, 5-6, 6-7 and 7-8 hours. Results showed that the time span of traditional smoking influences the products’ benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)antracene and  benzo(b)fluoranthine contamination levels. The concentration of PAHs in products with the smoking time of 6-7 and 7-8 hours was higher than the concentration observed in products with a shorter smoking time. The changes in the sum of the concentrations of the four analysed PAHs resulted from the changes in the concentration of each hydrocarbon separately. Benzo(a)anthracene content was within the range of 11.17 and 14.19 μg/kg while the content of benzo(a)pyrene was between 4.15 and 7.69 μg/kg. The average value of benzo(b)fluoranthene was between 4.99 and 7.75 μg/kg. Chrysene contamination was within the range of 9.85 and 10.77 μg/kg. Moreover, it was found that the aggregate content of the analysed PAHs significantly exceeds the limits specified in European Union regulations. Since September 1, 2014, the limits were decreased to 2.0 μg/kg (benzo(a)pyrene) and 12.0 μg/kg (sum of four PAHs), respectively. The results suggest that the prolonged smoking process conducted in high temperature may be an impediment to approving the examined products for marketing.

Key words: smoking, food, safety, PAHs, quality management, smoking time, traditional smoking


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358