09.08.2012 Patulin Residues in Apple Products – Investigations from Year 2012 Report from a day in the lab Summary In 2012 CVUA Stuttgart analyzed 36 samples of apple products (10 from organic production) for the presence of patulin. • None of the 23 samples of apple juice (2 from organic production) were found with quantities of patulin exceeding the legal maximum residue limit (MRL). • All 7 samples of baby food were or- ganic. Patulin was detected in one sample, but the amount was significantly lower than the legal MRL. • None of the 6 samples of apple sauce (1 from organic production) were found with patulin. The residue situation is thereby assessed to be positive. Background Apples are Germans’ favorite fruit. In addition to being eaten fresh, apples are also consumed in a wide variety of other forms, including apple juice (clear and cloudy), apple sauce, apple compote (also for babies and young children), and in dried or fermented forms (apple cider, apple wine, etc.). Apples are the most important raw material for the production of juice in moderate climate zones. In many European countries apple juice is one of the leaders in production volume. In Germany, an average of 13 liters is consumed per person per year. Fruit juices are basically seen not as drinks, but as “fluid fruits”. Their sugar content and source of energy are not to be underrated. Because apples and their products contain many vitamins, minerals and trace elements, they are highly valued for their nu- tritious benefits to babies and small children, as well as to seniors. ADRESS Schaflandstraße 3/2 70736 Fellbach Germany E-MAIL Poststelle@cvuas.bwl.de TELEFONE +49 711 3426 - 1234 INTERNET www.cvua-stuttgart.de +49 711 3426 - 1727 (Diagnostics) FAX +49 711 588176 +49 711 3426-1729 (Diagnostics) Seite 2 von 4 Introduction Patulin is a secondary metabolite of various fungi from the genus penicilli- um, aspergillus und byssochlamys. Although patulin can occur in various moldy plant-based foods such as fruits (wine grapes, cherries, raspber- ries, strawberries, peaches) and grains, the main source of human con- tamination comes from rotten pome fruits (pears and apples, products such as apple juice and apple sauce and, in France, apple cider). If these moldy or blighted fruits are further processed into the above-mentioned apple products, or if products such as apple juice and apple sauce be- come moldy during storage, the mycotoxins will find their way into our di- ets. Other fruit juices and tomato juice contribute very little to patulin ex- posure. It has been observed that, in apples, patulin rarely migrates from mold- affected parts into healthy tissue. If a wide swath is cut around the affect- ed area, the remainder of the fruit can still be processed or eaten. This is not the case, however, for other types of affected fruit. Patulin is relatively stable when given a short-acting heat-treatment (pasteurization), especial- ly in a sour pH environment. The fermentation and sulphurization processes of patulin-containing grapes as well as apple juices destroy this mycotoxin. Patulin is desig- nated as genotoxic and teratogenetic. In com- parison to other mycotoxins, there is little risk of exposure to patulin for the European popula- tion. However, because apple products are among the first types of food given to infants during or after the phase of nursing and to small children, it is nevertheless important to remain vigilant regarding the possibility of con- tamination from patulin in these fruit products. Results Analytical results of patulin in the apple product samples are presented in the following tables: Table 1: Comparison of Patulin Results in Apple Juice from Organic and Conven- tional Production Average No. Samples Quantity Highest No. Samples Patulin Containing (from posi- Quantity Analyzed Patulin tive sam- [µg/kg] ples) [µg/kg] Organic 2 2 (100%) 9.3 15.4 production Conventional 21 12 (57%) 7.5 21.1 production Seite 3 von 4 The results show that 57% of the conventionally produced apple juice samples were found to contain patulin. Nevertheless, the highest quantity detected (21.1 µg/kg) was under the legal MRL of 50 µg/kg for fruit juices . Only 2 samples from organic production were analyzed, so the values cannot be seen as representative. The patulin content detected in these products was also significantly lower than the legal MRL for juices. It can be added here that the patulin content of 4 samples of pear juice (one from organic production) was also analyzed and found with a very low level of 1.2 µg/kg. Table 2: Patulin in Apple Compote/Sauce from Organic and Conventional Pro- duction No. Samples No. Samples Patulin Analyzed Containing Patulin Organic 1 0 production Conventional 4 0 production None of the 5 samples of apple compote/sauce were detected with patu- lin. The legal MRL for these solid-type products (not fluid) is 25 µg/kg . Table 3: Patulin Content in Baby Food (cooked fruits and juices) from Organic Production No. Samples Highest No. Samples Patulin Containing Quantity Analyzed Patulin [µg/kg] Organic 7 1 (14.3%) 3.0 production Of the 7 analyzed baby food products (5 cooked fruits and 2 fruit juices), all of which were produced organically, only one sample of cooked fruit contained patulin. With a quantity of 3.0 µg/kg, the level was well under the legal MRL of 10 µg/kg for solid as well as fluid products . Seite 4 von 4 Literature  VO (EG) 1881/2006: Commission Regulation Nr. 1881/2006 from 19 December, 2006 for the determination of the maximum allowable content of specific contaminants in foods (ABl. L 364/5), last adjusted via EU Reg- ulation Nr. 594/2012 from 5 July, 2012 (ABl. L 176/43). Photo credits: CVUA Stuttgart Authors: Tamara Hummel, Margit Kettl-Grömminger, Renate Schnaufer.