Ethyl carbamate

Origin & risks associated with its presence in wines

Ethyl carbamate is a natural substance found in fermented products.

The major precursor of this compound is urea. Ethyl carbamate levels found in wines could initially be related to the grapes and an excess of nitrogen added to the vine. However, during the winemaking process, yeast is able to produce small quantities; bacteria also produces varying concentrations depending on the species.

During the maturation period and ageing, the ethyl carbamate content increases over time, especially if the temperature is high. This increase occurs over a period of several years.

Ethyl carbamate poses a risk to human health. This compound is classified as carcinogenic.

What are the regulatory constraints?

At this stage, the OIV has not set any regulatory constraints, however they "recommend to Member States […] to follow all appropriate practices to minimize the formation of ethyl carbamate".

On the other hand, several countries such as Canada and the US have set the MRLs of ethyl carbamate in wines at 30 and 15 µg/L, respectively.

Thus, control of the content of ethyl carbamate in wines is increasingly becoming a part of the specifications of many buyers.

  Ethyl carbamate
Méthod GC/MS
Volume 250 ml
Analysis duration 2 days

Our quality guarantee

  • Method validated according to OIV Oeno 10/2005 resolution and NF V03-110 standard validation.
Sarco

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