Epidemiology and risk assessment of carcinogenic foreign substances forming in food processing

The foreign substances forming in food processing, called process contaminants, develop when foods are heated, smoked or fermented. Carcinogenic process contaminants are significant because they may cause mutations (damage) to the genome. These mutations may lead to the development of cancer.


  • Investigating the link between process contaminant intake and the risk of cancers in two sets of epidemiological material on food consumption
  • Assessing the exposure to process contaminants in Finnish adults and children
  • Assessing the cancer burden related to exposure to process contaminants
  • Investigating the time connection between legislation on foreign substances and the incidence of cancers in selected EU and non-EU countries.
  • Assessment of the dose-response relationship: combining animal test results and epidemiological results
  • Cancer risk characterisation
  • Reporting results as a living document, in other words, results from the project are published as soon as they become available, meaning that the results are updated when the risk information and the data on concentrations in foods change and when new data on food consumption is obtained

Research team

  • Tero Hirvonen (Finnish Food Authority)
  • Pirkko Tuominen (Finnish Food Authority)
  • Antti Mikkelä (Finnish Food Authority)
  • Tia Heikkinen (University of Helsinki)
  • Satu Männistö (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)
  • Paul Knekt (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)
  • Jukka Kontto (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)
  • Harri Rissanen (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)

Time table


Page last updated 9/10/2020