Furan is a heterocyclic organic compound (a ring with four carbon atoms and an oxygen atom) that is created during the heat treatment of food. It turned out to be carcinogenic when studies were conducted on laboratory animals. Furan is therefore a little the homologue of acrylamide, a molecule that is created in grilled foods (and gives them their taste and smell), and which is also carcinogenic.

According to a team of Spanish researchers, this toxic substance would remain trapped in the coffee capsules while a filter machine offers a coffee that contains three times less furan than the capsules because the molecule has been able to dissipate.

However, the experts are trying to reassure us: according to them, we should drink twenty capsules of coffee a day to risk anything. But they forget to specify at what time: if their assertion is surely true in the short and medium terms, what about in the longer term.

Source: S. Altaki, F. J.,Santos et MT Galceran dans Food Chemistry – 2011

Acrylamide: an embarrassing presence

Eating chips and cookies, drinking instant coffee always exposes us to contamination with acrylamide

This chemical, potentially carcinogenic in humans, is created when carbohydrate-rich foods are cooked, fried or roasted at temperatures above 120 ° C.

To fight this poison, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2007 asked the various states to push their food manufacturers to make efforts to reduce the acrylamide content of their products. However, the recent report in which the European authority analyzes 22 food categories proves that they made no effort.

Only three products have a drop in their acrylamide level:

  • crackers (- 35%)
  • the gingerbread (- 27%)

However, we still find more acrylamide in:

  • the rusks + 36%
  • in instant coffee + 370%
  • it is the chips that, with 4.804 micrograms per kilo , which hold the sad record, even beating that of October 2009 and which was then only 4,180 micrograms per kilo.

And we may fear that the situation is even less brilliant in France: our country has transmitted only eight analyzes to EFSA …

When will the obligation to enter the acrylamide level on the labels?

Why are coffee capsules dangerous?

If a study conducted by Spanish scientists in 2011 did show up to 3 times greater amounts of furan in coffee pods:

The Parisian

This study is however contradicted by a more recent study:

According to the study conducted jointly by the magazine 60 million consumers and ANSES (National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor) in 2013, we find acrylamide but in quantities that do not present a health risk for normal coffee consumption (up to 4 cups per day).

Furan when it is found at higher rates (up to 25% of the daily allowable dose), but since coffee is almost the only source of exposure for individuals, these rates for normal consumption are not more recognized as dangerous.