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Canned and jarred baby foods (74), canned and jarred adult foods (63) and 70 coffees sold in Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and The Netherlands were analysed for their furan content using a validated automated headspace GC-MS procedure. Seven balsamic vinegars from Italy and Spain were also analysed. All 74 baby food samples contained detectable furan, with an average level of 37 ng/g. A total of 54 of 63 canned and jarred foods contained detectable furan with an average level of 24 ng/g. Levels of furan in coffee as consumed were very variable and reflected different preparation methods and coffee strengths. Over 50% of Italian samples contained more than 200 ng/g, whereas over 20% of Belgian coffees contained less than 21 ng/g furan. Some brews made from fine grained coffee contained much more furan than did brews made from normal or coarse grained coffee. Although furan was low in most instant coffees, two Italian products "instant espresso" and "instant mocha" contained about 150 ng/g furan. Balsamic vinegars from Spain contained 159-662 ng/g of furan; however, other samples from Spain and Italy contained only 6-25 ng/g.

Original publication




Journal article


Food Addit Contam Part B Surveill

Publication Date





95 - 98


GC/MS, baby food, canned foods, chromatography, coffee, headspace, process contaminants, processed foods, volatiles, Coffee, European Union, Food Contamination, Furans, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry