Formation of furan in baby food products: Identification and technical challenges

Farah Javed, Hafiz Muhammad Shahbaz, Asad Nawaz, Amin N. Olaimat, Alexandros Ch Stratakos, Agung Wahyono, Sadia Munir, Ghulam Mueen-ud-din, Zeshan Ali, Jiyong Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Furan is generally produced during thermal processing of various foods including baked, fried, and roasted food items such as cereal products, coffee, canned, and jarred prepared foods as well as in baby foods. Furan is a toxic and carcinogenic compound to humans and may be a vital hazard to infants and babies. Furan could be formed in foods through thermal degradation of carbohydrates, dissociation of amino acids, and oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The detection of furan in food products is difficult due to its high volatility and low molecular weight. Headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) is generally used for analysis of furan in food samples. The risk assessment of furan can be characterized using margin of exposure approach (MOE). Conventional strategies including cooking in open vessels, reheating of commercially processed foods with stirring, and physical removal using vacuum treatment have remained unsuccessful for the removal of furan due to the complex production mechanisms and possible precursors of furan. The innovative food-processing technologies such as high-pressure processing (HPP), high-pressure thermal sterilization (HPTS), and Ohmic heating have been adapted for the reduction of furan levels in baby foods. But in recent years, only HPP has gained interest due to successful reduction of furan because of its nonthermal mechanism. HPP-treated baby food products are commercially available from different food companies. This review summarizes the mechanism involved in the formation of furan in foods, its toxicity, and identification in infant foods and presents a solution for limiting its formation, occurrence, and retention using novel strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2699-2715
Number of pages17
JournalComprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May

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© 2021 Institute of Food Technologists®

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science


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