Ethyl Carbamate in Spirits and Wines
Various substances and their by products among alcoholic beverages would synthesis ethyl carbamate during fermentation. These precursor substances (cyanate ester, urea and citrulline) will undergo chemical reactions with ethanol, which resulting ethyl carbamate. The amount of ethyl carbamate formation is depends on the degree of light and temperatures.
Health concerns of Ethyl Carbamate
Experiments have shown urethane could contribute cancer in the experimental animals. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO)/ World Health Organization (WHO) Joint Expert Committee on food additives (Committee of experts) have confirmed that the total intake of urethane from food and alcoholic beverages may lead to potential health risk on the ethyl carbamate evaluation held in 2005. In 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also reclassified ethyl carbamate into class 2A ("substances may result in human cancer"). European Union even set the tolerance limit of urethane for brandy in 0.4 mg/kg.