Cooking meat at high temperatures generates heterocyclic amines such as MeIQx (2-amino-3,4-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline) and 4,8-DiMeIQx (2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline). These chemicals represent a health risk as they promote the development of gastrointestinal tumors.
Monika Gibis and Jochen Weiss, University of Hohenheim, Germany, demonstrated that frozen pizzas’ consumers use baking conditions that create heterocyclic amines in ham and salami toppings.
According to consumers, the optimal flavor and crispiness of pizza are achieved upon a 18-minute baking time. This condition, however, generates MeIQx and 4,8-DiMeIQx in ham (1.6 ng/g and 1.8 ng/g, respectively) as well as high amounts of MeIQx in salami (2.6 ng/g). In contrast, both heterocyclic amines were produced in limited amounts when using the 15-minute baking time recommended by manufacturers. In this circumstance, MeIQx and 4,8-DiMeIQx were undetectable in salami and respectively present at 0.3 ng/g and 0.8 ng/g in ham. Thus, when baking frozen pizzas with ham and salami toppings, manufacturer's instructions should be exactly maintained.
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