Coroneo V, Carraro V, Marras B, Marrucci A, Succa S, Meloni B, Pinna A, Angioni A, Sanna A, Schintu M. PRESENCE OF TRIHALOMETHANES IN READY-TO-EAT VEGETABLES DISINFECTED WITH CHLORINE. Food additives and contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure and risk assessment. Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2017 Sep 21. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2017.1382723.
Trihalomethanes (THMs) – CHCl3, CHCl2Br, CHClBr2 and CHBr3 – are drinking water disinfection by-products (DBPs). These compounds can also be absorbed by different types of foods, including ready-to-eat (RTE) fresh vegetables. The potential absorption of THMs during washing of RTE vegetables could pose a potential risk to consumers’ health. The concentration of THMs in the water used in the manufacturing process of these products shall not exceed the limit of 100 or 80 µgL-1 according to European Union (EU) and United States legislation respectively. By contrast, there is little information about the presence of such compounds in the final product. This study evaluated the concentration of THMs in different types of RTE vegetables (carrots, iceberg lettuce, lettuce, mixed salad, parsley, parsley and garlic, rocket salad, valerian) after washing with chlorinated water. In the 115 samples analyzed, the average value of total THMs was equal to 76.7 ng g-1. Chloroform was the THM present in the largest percentage in all the RTE vegetables. These results show that the process of washing RTE vegetables should be optimized in order to reduce the risk for consumers associated with the presence of DBPs.