Do guidelines exist for the consumption of food containing HCAs and PAHs?
Currently, no Federal guidelines address the consumption of foods containing HCAs and PAHs. The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research issued a report in 2007 with dietary guidelines that recommended limiting the consumption of red and processed (including smoked) meats; however, no recommendations were provided for HCA and PAH levels in meat.28
Are there ways to reduce HCA and PAH formation in cooked meats?
Even though no specific guidelines for HCA/PAH consumption exist, concerned individuals can reduce their exposure by using several cooking methods:
- Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temperatures) can help reduce HCA and PAH formation.29
- Using a microwave oven to cook meat prior to exposure to high temperatures can also substantially reduce HCA formation by reducing the time that meat must be in contact with high heat to finish cooking.29
- Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often.29
- Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings can also reduce HCA and PAH exposure.29
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