Snus and the Swedish Food Act
The purpose of the Swedish Food Act is to ensure a high standard of safety in respect of the health of people, as well as the interests of consumers in respect of food. In April 2016, the Swedish National Food Agency implemented an addendum to the directive designed to regulate the content of the foreign substances B(a)P and NNN + NNK, which are present in snus and chewing tobacco. Lead and aflatoxins were already regulated.
Swedish Match welcomes the Swedish National Food Agency’s directives. Through our unique quality standard GOTHIATEK®, we have long been working actively to minimize the levels of foreign substances in our products. All of our products comfortably satisfy the sharpened limits that have now been introduced by the Swedish National Food Agency.
300,000 tests annually
Swedish Match implements just over 300,000 quality tests each year to check that the limits set for your snus are never exceeded. Although slight differences may be noticeable over time because the ingredients are from growing matter, the quality and the substance levels are always guaranteed.
The results of the tests are available on our website. As a consumer, you can – here and now – find out the actual values for your favorite snus from Swedish Match.
Which substances are covered by the Swedish Food Act – and what impact do they have?
Aflatoxins (included in the group mycotoxins)
The aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2 are toxins formed by fungal mold. They thrive in hot tropical climates and thus exist in such imported foods as nuts, spices, corn, rice and figs. The Swedish National Food Agency has set a limit for total aflatoxins in snus. As a result of distinct legislation governing aflatoxins in food, exposure from food is low in Sweden.
It is extremely rare that measurable levels of aflatoxins occur in Swedish snus products from Swedish Match.
B(a)P (Bens(a)pyrene (included in the group polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH)
B(a)P is an abbreviation of Bens(a)pyrene and is generated from the combustion of organic material and thus exists in nature. Accordingly, it exists in all food, including fruit, vegetables and grain. Thanks to GOTHIATEK®, the levels in Swedish Match snus are low. For example, it can be said that 18 snus cans contain the same amount as 100 grams of grilled meat. The reason for this extremely low level is that we have completely discontinued the use of dry-cured tobacco, which – prior to the introduction of GOTHIATEK® – had been traditionally used in the production of snus.
Lead (included in the group heavy metals)
Lead is a contaminant that exists in air, soil and water. Low concentrations of lead exists in all food. The Swedish National Food Agency has set a limit of 3 milligrams per kilo for the concentration of lead in snus. Swedish Match snus contains about 0.15 milligrams of lead per kilo. The levels in snus correspond to those existing in fruit and vegetables, although, of course, snus is not intended to be eaten.
Propylene glycol (included in the group polyalcohols)
Propylene glycol is used in snus to retain moisture, keep the product stable and prevent bacterial growth. According to the Swedish National Food Agency’s directive governing snus and chewing tobacco (LIVSFS 2012:6), propylene glycol is approved as a food additive in concentrations of up to 4%. The substance exists in chewing gum, ice cream, toothpaste and frozen products, among others. The level in Swedish Match snus is below the Swedish National Food Agency’s limit.
NNN+NNK (included in the group Nitrosamines)
The tobacco-specific nitrosamines, TSNA, are only found in tobacco and two of them, NNN (and N'-nitrosonornicotine) and NNK (4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone), have been proven in animal testing to be carcinogenic at high levels. Swedish Match snus comfortably satisfies the requirements set in the Swedish National Food Agency’s directive. The actual level in the end product is far below the limits set for TSNA, while products similar to snus from other suppliers can contain levels that are several hundred times higher.
People consume other, non-tobacco-specific, nitrosamines that are found in food, drugs and cosmetics, among other products. For example, the content of the volatile nitrosamine NDMA in 100 grams of fried bacon corresponds to the amount in 17 cans of snus.