Scientific journal

51 2012

Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
Summary No. 1 / 2012

Estimates of maximum tolerable levels of tyramine content in foods in Austria
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 51, 2012, No. 1, s. 52-59

Peter Paulsen, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria. E-mail:

Summary: Tyramine is one of the most relevant vasoactive (“pressor”) amines present in foods. This paper suggests risk-based tolerable levels of this compound for certain food commodities. Dose-response data indicate that the “no observed adverse effect level” (NOAEL) for healthy individuals is 200 mg per single oral administration. Based on this NOAEL and Austrian food consumption data, maximum tolerable levels for foods (high consumption scenario: female user, 60 kg body mass, 95 percentile) are 1 000 for cheese; 2 000 for fermented / raw cured meats; 950 for fish (raw or processed) and 800 for sauerkraut. Reduced bioavailability of amines when ingested with solid foods was considered, susceptible consumers and interactions with other dietary amines were not considered. Literature data indicate that, at least for cheese, these limits may be exceeded in practice. However, surveys on market samples in Austria (2000–2008) report maximum tyramine contents well below the estimated tolerable contents (440, 240 and 430 for cheese, fish and fermented meats, respectively). Under medication with monoaminooxidases inhibitors, a “safe-side” NOAEL of 5 mg per meal can be assumed, which may easily be exceeded even under “normal” nutrition conditions that requires some degree of consumer awareness.

Keywords: tyramine; “no observed adverse effect level”; exposure assessment; tolerable content

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