Development of a food frequency questionnaire module and databases for compounds in cooked and processed meats

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Jul;49(7):648-55. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200500018.


There is ample evidence from basic research and animal carcinogenicity studies that heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are mutagens and carcinogens. However, there was a paucity of human data due to a lack of appropriate investigative tools. We developed the first validated cooked meat module within a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in the United States of America and created databases to be used in conjunction with this FFQ to estimate intake of HCAs and benzo[a]pyrene, a marker of PAHs. It became clear that other aspects of meat may also contribute to carcinogenesis; in particular, we are pursuing two additional areas: processed meat and iron exposure in relation to cancer risk. To investigate these hypotheses, we have expanded the cooked meat module to include detailed information on processed meats and fish. In addition, we are developing two databases, one for total iron and heme iron in cooked meat and the other for nitrite, nitrate, and N-nitroso compounds in processed meats. In this report, we will outline the methods used to develop the meat questionnaires, the databases, a software package for generating the intake values, and the methods used to generate nutritional data from nationally representative samples.

MeSH terms

  • Benzo(a)pyrene / analysis
  • Databases as Topic*
  • Diet
  • Diet Records*
  • Epidemiology
  • Food Handling*
  • Heme / chemistry
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Iron / analysis
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Nitrates / analysis
  • Nitrites / analysis
  • Nitroso Compounds / analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitroso Compounds
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Heme
  • Iron