Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in some commercial brands of candies and chocolates in Nigeria

Main Article Content

C.M.A. Iwegbue
G. Obi
G.O. Tesi
F.I. Bassey
L.C. Overah
B.S. Martincigh


candies, chocolates, daily intakes, margin of exposure, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Nigeria


The concentrations and profiles of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in 29 commercial brands of candies and chocolates commonly consumed in Nigeria with a view to providing information on the risks associated with the consumption of these products. The measurements were performed by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry after hexane/dichloromethane extraction and clean-up. The concentrations of the ?16 PAHs in the candies and chocolates were in the range of 1.09-149.46 ?g/kg and 0.95-222.62 ?g/kg, respectively. The profiles of PAHs in these brands of candies and chocolates indicate dominance of low molecular weight PAHs (3- and 4-ring) over high molecular weight PAHs (5- and 6-ring). In this study, three samples of chocolate had PAH4 (benzo(a)anthracene + benzo(b) fluoranthene + benzo(a)pyrene + chrysene) concentrations above the 35 ?g/kg PAH4 limit in cocoa butter stipulated by European Commission Regulation no. 835/2011.

Abstract 43 | PDF Downloads 72


Akpambang, V.O.E., Purcaro, G., Lajide L, Amoo, I.A., Conte, L.S. and Moret, S., 2009. Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in commonly consumed Nigerian smoked/grilled fish and meat. Food Additives and Contaminants 26: 1096-1103.
Al-Rashdan, A., Murad, I.H., Helaleh Nisar, A., Ibtisam, A. and Al-Ballam, Z., 2010. Determination of the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in toasted bread using gas chromatography mass spectrometry. International Journal of Analytical Chemistry 2010: 821216.
Angerer, J. and Mueller, J., 2004. Forschungsbericht DFG: Polyzyklische Aromatische Kohlenwasserstoffe. John Wiley & Son, Weinheim, Germany.
Belitz, H.D., Grosch, W. and Schieberle, P., 2004. Food chemistry (3rdEd.). Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, USA, 1070 pp.
Ciecierska, M. and Obiedzinski, M., 2007. Influence of smoking process on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons’ content in meat products. Acta Scientarum Polonorum Technologia Alimentaria 6(4): 17-28.
DeMarini, D.M., Brooks, L.R., Warren, S.H., Kobayashi, T., Gilmour, M.I. and Singh, P., 2004. Bioassay-directed fractionation and Salmonella mutagenicity of automobile and forklift diesel exhaust particles. Environmental Health Perspectives 112: 814-819.
Dennis, M.J., Massey, R.C., Cripps, G., Venn, I., Howarth, N. and Lee, G., 1991. Factors affecting the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon content of cereals, fats and other food products. Food Additives and Contaminants8: 517-530.
Dhananjayan, V. and Muralidharan, S., 2012. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in various species of fishes from Mumbai Harbour, India, and their dietary intake concentration to human. International Journal of Oceanography 2012: 645178.
Durant, J., Busby, W., Lafleur, A., Penman, B. and Crespi, C., 1996. Human cell mutagenicity of oxygenated, nitrated and unsubstituted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons associated with urban aerosols. Mutation Research – Genetic Toxicology 371: 123-157.
Durant, J., Lafleur, A., Busby, W., Donhoffner, L., Penman, B. and Crespi, C., 1999. Mutagenicity of C24H14 PAH in human cells expressing CYP1A1. Mutation Research – Genetic Toxicology 446: 1-14.
European Commission (EC), 2002. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on the risk to human health of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in food. EC, Brussels, Belgium. Available at:
European Commission (EC), 2011a. Commission Regulation (EC) no. 836/2011 of 19 August 2011 amending Regulation (EC) no. 333/2007 laying down the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, inorganic tin, 3-MCPD and benzo(a)pyrene in foodstuffs. Official Journal of the European Union L215: 9-16.
European Commission, (EC), 2011b. Commission Regulation (EC) no. 835/2011 of 19 August 2011 amending Regulation (EC) no. 1881/2006 as regard maximum levels for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in foodstuffs. Official Journal of the European Union L215: 4-8.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), 2008. Scientific opinion of the panel on contaminants in the food chain on a request from the European Commission on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in food. The EFSA Journal 724: 1-114.
Falco, G., Bocio, A., Llobet, J.M. and Domingo, J.L., 2005. Health risk of dietary intake of environmental pollutants by elite sportsmen and sportswomen. Food and Chemical Toxicology 43: 1713-1721.
Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), 2006. Investigation into levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in food on the Irish market. FSAI surveillance: food safety-chemical. FSAI, Dublin, Ireland. Available at:
Grob, K., Artho, A., Biedermann, M. and Mikle, H., 1993. Contamination of hazelnuts and chocolate by mineral-oil from jute and sisal bags. Zeitschrift Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und Forschung 197: 370-374.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2010. Some non-heterocyclic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and some related exposures. IARC Monograph on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Monograph volume 92. IARC, Lyon, France.
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), 2005. Summary and conclusions of the joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives. Sixty-fourth meeting, Rome, 8-17 February 2005. WHO, Geneva, Switzerland. Available at:
Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), 2010. Risk-based standards for Kansas. RSK manual, 5th version. KDHE, Topeka, KS, USA. Available at:
Kazeroumi, N., Sinha, R., Hsu, C.H., Greenberg, A. and Rothman, N., 2001. Analysis of 200 food items for benzo(a)pyrene and estimation of its intake in an epidemiologic study. Food and Chemical Toxicology 39: 423-436.
Kumari, R., Chaturvedi, P., Ansari, N.G., Murthy, R.C. and Patel D.K., 2012. Optimization and validation of an extraction method for the analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in chocolate candies. Journal of Food Science 71: T34-T40.
Kumari, R., Patel D.K., Chaturvedi P., Ansari N.G. and Murthy, R.C., 2013. Solid phase micro extraction combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry for the trace analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in chocolates. Analytical Methods 5: 1946-1954.
Lage Yusty, M.A. and Cortizo Daviña, J.L., 2005. Supercritical fluid extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography–fluorescence detection method for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons investigation in vegetable oil. Food Control 16: 59-64.
Larsen, J.C., 2006. Risk assessment of chemicals in European traditional foods. Trends in Food Science and Technology 17: 471-481.
Larsen, J.C. and Larsen, P.B., 1998. Chemical carcinogens. In: Hester, E.E. and Harrison, R.R. (eds.) Air pollution and health. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, pp. 33-56.
Lodovici, M., Dolara, P., Casalini, C., Ciappellano, S. and Tostolin, G., 1995. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the diet. Food Additives and Contaminants 12: 703-713.
Lowor, S.T., Jacquet, M., Vrielink, T., Aculey, P., Cros, E. and Takrama J., 2012. Post-harvest sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination of cocoa beans: a simulation. International Journal of AgriScience 2: 1043-1052.
Maertens, R.M., Bailey, J. and White, P.A., 2004. The mutagenic hazards of settled house dust: a review. Mutation Research 567: 401-425.
Moret, S., Grob, K. and Conte, L.S. 1997. Mineral oil polyaromatic hydrocarbons in foods e.g. from jute bags, by on-line LC-solvent evaporation (SE)-LC-GC-FID. Zeitschrift für Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und Forschung A 204: 241-246.
Moret, S., Purcarco, G. and Conte, L.S., 2005. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in vegetable oils from canned foods. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology 107: 488-496.
Nisbet, I.C.T. and LaGoy, P.K., 1992. Toxic equivalency factors (TEFs) for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 16: 290-300.
Phillips, D.H., 1999. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the diet. Mutation Research 443: 139-147.
Pies, C., Yan, Y. and Hofmann, T., 2007. Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in flood plain soils of the Mosel and Saar River. Journal of Soil and Sediment7: 216-222.
Scientific Committee on Food (SCF), 2002. Opinion of the scientific committee on food on the risks to human health of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in food. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium. Available at:
Seagrave, J., McDonald, J., Gigliotti, A., Nikula, K., Seilkop, S., Gurevich, M. and Mauderly, J., 2002. Mutagenicity and in vivotoxicity of combined particulate and semi volatile organic fractions of gasoline and diesel engine emissions. Toxicological Sciences 70: 212-216.
Tfouni, S.A.V., Machedo, R.M.D., Camargo, M.C.R., Vitorino, S.H.P., Vancente, E. and Toledo, M.C.F., 2007. Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in cachaca by HPLC with fluorescence detection. Food Chemistry 101: 334-338.
Thompson, T.S., Clement, R.E., Thornton, N. and Luyt, J., 1990. Formation and emission of PCDD/PCDFs in the petroleum refining industry. Chemosphere 20: 1525-1532.
United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agriculture Service, 2013. Gain report: Nigeria food processing ingredients. Nigeria food processing ingredients market (2013). USDA, Lagos, Nigeria. Available at:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1989. Risk assessment-guidance for superfund. Volume I. Human health evaluation manual (Part A). EPA, Washington, DC, USA. Available at:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1993. Risk-based concentration table. EPA, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Available at:
Villeneuve, D.L., Khim, J.S., Kannan, K. and Giesy J.P., 2002. Relative potencies of individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to induce dioxinlike and estrogenic responses in three cell lines. Environmental Toxicology 17: 128-137.
Wandan, E.N., Elleingand, E.F. and Ndouba, A.M., 2011. A screening for benzo(a)pyrene in cocoa bean subjected to different drying methods during on farm processing. International Journal of Engineering, Science and Technology 3: 3621-3630.
Wenzl, T., Simon, R., Kleiner, J. and Anklam, E., 2006. Analytical methods for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in food and the environment needed for new food legislation in the European Union. Trends in Analytical Chemistry 25: 716-725.
Wilcke, W., Krauss, M., Safronov, G., Fokin, A.D. and Kaupenjohann, M., 2005. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils of the Moscow Region – concentrations, temporal trends, and small-scale distribution. Journal of Environmental Quality 31: 1581-1590.
Yurchenco, S. and Molder, U., 2005. The determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked fish by gas chromatography mass spectroscopy with positive-ion chemical ionization. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 18: 857-869.
Zeiger, E., 1998. Identification of rodent carcinogens and noncarcinogens using genetic toxicity tests: premises, promises, and performance. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 28: 85-95.
Zeiger, E., 2001. Mutagens that are not carcinogens: faulty theory or faulty tests? Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis 492: 29-38.
Ziegenhals, K., Speer, K. and Jira, W., 2009. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in chocolate on the German market. Journal für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit 4: 128-135.