An investigation of presence of 2- and 3-monochloropropanediol fatty acid esters in Canadian human milk samples (Lay summary)

Becalski A, Zhao T, Granvogl M, Arbuckle TE. Food Additives and Contaminants 2018 Part A, 35:10, 1881-1889. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2018.1506163.

2- and 3-monochloropropanediol fatty acid esters (2- and 3- MCPDE) are contaminants that can be found in many infant formulas present on the market (Canadian included). They are created as a by-product of processing and refining vegetable oils and fats. When these oils and fats are added to infant formula for nutritional benefit, some 2- and 3- MCPDEs may be added as well. One research study from the Czech Republic found that 3-MCPDE was present in their samples of breast milk presumably because consumption of MCPDE-containing fats by mothers. The goal of this study was to see whether these chemicals are present in breast milk in Canada.

This research was conducted using biospecimens and data from the MIREC Study. Breast milk samples from 199 women were analyzed for the presence of 2- and 3-MCPDEs.

The researchers showed that 2-MCPDEs were not found in any of the 199 samples. 3-MCPDEs were not found in 193 samples, and the researches showed that the remaining 6 samples were likely contaminated during processing of the samples. Therefore, neither 2- or 3-MCPDEs were reliably detected in any of the MIREC breast milk samples.

This study is the largest and most comprehensive to date. In conclusion, this analysis of breast milk from nursing Canadian mothers did not detect 2- or 3-MCPDEs. MCPDE-containing fats are likely to be consumed by Canadian nursing mothers. These results suggest that it is very unlikely that the contaminants MCPDEs could be transferred from the mother’s diet to her breast milk.