Coumarin is a naturally occurring flavouring substance in cinnamon and many other plants. It is known that coumarin can cause liver toxicity in several species, and it is considered a non-genotoxic carcinogen in rodents. By using the bench mark dose approach we re-assessed coumarin toxicity and established a new TDI for coumarin of 0.07 mg/kg bw/day. Oral intake of coumarin is related to consumption of cinnamon-containing foods and food supplements. Cinnamon is a widely used spice in Norway, and can be used as topping on oatmeal porridge. Based on analyses of coumarin in Norwegian foods, intake calculations for children and adults were conducted, and a risk assessment of coumarin in the Norwegian population was performed. Intake estimates of coumarin show that small children eating oatmeal porridge several times a week sprinkled with cinnamon could have a coumarin intake of 1.63 mg/kg bw/day and may exceeding the TDI with several folds. Adults drinking cinnamon-based tea and consuming cinnamon supplements also can exceed TDI. The coumarin intake could exceed the TDI by 7- to 20-fold in some intake scenarios. Such large daily exceedances of TDI, even for a limited time period of 1-2 weeks, cause concern of adverse health effects.
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