A straightforward method to determine flavouring substances in food by GC-MS

Lopez Sanchez, P.; Sisseren, M. van; Marco, S. De; Jekel, A.A.; Nijs, W.C.M. de; Mol, J.G.J.


A straightforward GC–MS method was developed to determine the occurrence of fourteen flavouring compounds in food. It was successfully validated for four generic types of food (liquids, semi-solids, dry solids and fatty solids) in terms of limit of quantification, linearity, selectivity, matrix effects, recovery (53–120%) and repeatability (3–22%). The method was applied to a survey of 61 Dutch food products. The survey was designed to cover all the food commodities for which the EU Regulation 1334/2008 set maximum permitted levels. All samples were compliant with EU legislation. However, the levels of coumarin (0.6–63 mg/kg) may result in an exposure that, in case of children, would exceed the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg/kg bw/day. In addition to coumarin, estragole, methyl-eugenol, (R)-(+)-pulegone and thujone were EU-regulated substances detected in thirty-one of the products. The non-EU regulated alkenylbenzenes, trans-anethole and myristicin, were commonly present in beverages and in herbs-containing products.