Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Meat smoking is one of the oldest methods of preservation, often used in combination with drying or salting.
It leads to the formation of several potentially harmful substances. These include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
PAHs are an important class of substances formed during the combustion of organic matter.
They are transported into the air with smoke and accumulate on the surface of smoked meat products and meat that is grilled, barbecued or roasted over an open fire.
They can be formed from:
- Burning wood or charcoal.
- Burnt or charred meat.
- Dripping fat that burns on a hot surface.
Therefore, smoked meat products may be high in PAHs.
It is assumed that PAHs can contribute to some of the adverse health effects of processed meat.
Many animal studies have shown that some PAHs can cause cancer.
Conclusion: Smoked meat products may contain large amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds have been shown to cause cancer in animals.