Smoked food and cancer

Bibl Nutr Dieta. 1980;(29):57-64. doi: 10.1159/000387467.


Smoking is a well-known source of food contaminated caused by carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Epidemiological studies indicates a statistical correlation between the increased occurrence of cancer of the intestinal tract and the frequent intake of smoked foods. As observed during the last 10 years in a certain district of Hungary with a Slovenian population, the percentage of stomach cancer among all types of cancer is nearly twice as high (47-50%) as in Hungary altogether (29.9%). In this special district, predominantly home-smoked meat products are consumed. Using identical techniques, the authors investigated the contamination of smoked foodstuffs by carcinogenic, cocarcinogenic and other polyaromatic hydrocarbons in the German Democratic Republic and in Hungary. No significant differences have been found either in the average values or in the ranges of the benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) contents in meats smoked by industrial processes used in the GDR and in Hungary. In the GDR, industrially smoked foods contain on average 0.43 micrograms/kg, products smoked in handicraft workshops 0.76 micrograms/kg, home-smoked products 0.74 micrograms/kg. The mean BaP content of all smoked meat and sausage products amounts of 0.55 micrograms/kg. In Hungary, the following average values have been found: 0.6 micrograms/kg for industrially smoked products, 0.74 micrograms/kg for home-smoked products, the total being 0.7 micrograms/kg. The average BaP value of home-smoked (softwood) products of the Slovenian population in Hungary is as high as 4.16 micrograms/kg. Apart from this particular case, the techniques used in both countries permit the production of smoked meat and sausages with a BaP content of less than 1 microgram/kg.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Benzopyrenes / analysis
  • Food Preservatives / adverse effects*
  • Germany, East
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Meat Products / adverse effects
  • Smoke*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology


  • Benzopyrenes
  • Food Preservatives
  • Smoke