Harmful ingredient Coumarin is very different in cinnamon varieties
Cinnamon is an integral part of Christmas pastries, teas and chocolate. However, as the Consumer Advice Center Baden-Württemberg informs, consumers should make sure that a certain amount of the spice is not exceeded when consumed. The coumarin contained in cinnamon is therefore harmful to health. The Ceylon (Kaneel) cinnamon variety, which mostly comes from Madagascar or Sri Lanka, therefore contains much less coumarin than Cassia cinnamon from Indonesia. Although there have been statutory limits for coumarin levels in some foods throughout Europe since January 2011, these have so far been lacking for ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks. Consumers should therefore note the type of cinnamon or the origin of the spice on the packaging. However, manufacturers are not obliged to provide this information.
Ingredient Coumarin has a much lower content in Ceylon cinnamon than in Cassia cinnamon The Baden-Württemberg consumer center carried out a "market check cinnamon" and came to the conclusion that 19 of 28 packages of ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks did not contain any information on the variety or where the spice came from. This means that a targeted selection is often not possible. "Legislators are therefore required to finally introduce mandatory labeling and to set maximum levels for coumarin in cassia cinnamon," demand the consumer advocates from Baden-Württemberg. With cinnamon sticks, however, the appearance can help, because Ceylon cinnamon consists of several thin layers of bark rolled into each other, while Cassia cinnamon has only one thick layer of bark rolled up on the sides.
Researchers discovered the hepatotoxic properties of coumarin as early as the 1950s. In the worst case, the substance can damage the liver so severely that organ failure occurs. Therefore, especially people who use cinnamon for cooking and baking all year round are advised to use Ceylon cinnamon. As the consumer center informs, this is more expensive, but has a much lower coumarin content than the cheap cassia cinnamon. "If you consume more than 2 grams of cassia cinnamon per day (adults, 60 kg body weight) or 0.5 grams of cassia cinnamon per day (toddler, 15 kg body weight), the tolerable daily dose can otherwise be exceeded quickly," write the consumer advocates . Cassia cinnamon can contain up to 3,000 milligrams of coumarin per kilogram, with Ceylon cinnamon it is a maximum of 297 milligrams per kilogram. (ag)
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