Liquid smoke is a substance produced from smoke passed
through water. Liquid smoke is used for both food preservation
and flavoring. During production carcinogens can be removed from
the smoke, which can make "smoking" with smoke condensates
significantly safer than traditional smoking.
Liquid smoke consists of smoke
produced through the controlled burning of wood chips or
sawdust, condensed and then passed through water, which captures
and dissolves the smoke-flavored components in solution. The
liquid base can be condensed and modified through many methods
to develop a wide range of smoke flavors.
Liquid Smoke can be used as a
seasoning to add a smokey char-grilled flavor to foods. Liquid
smoke is often used in the processing of bacon and hot dogs, and
is one of the main flavors in the curing solution used for
bacon. It is also used to flavor jerky and tofu. Liquid smoke is
also used in some soft cheeses and tempeh. Liquid smoke
can be used on steaks, sausages and chops, to marinade a roast,
ribs, soups, vegetables and gravies as a replacement for bacon
Aqueous, as well as gaseous smoke can also enhance
seedling germination and emergence. Greenhouse tests on seeds
and on wild seedbanks support this trend, but field trials of
aqueous smoke remain inconclusive.
During the manufacturing process,
smoke condensates such as tar and ash are removed from the
solution. By removing the tar from solution, the carcinogen
level can be reduced considerably. This process can
theoretically make "smoking" with smoke condensates
significantly safer for consumers than traditional smoking.
However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is
investigating the safety of liquid smoke as a food flavoring.
One of the smoke flavorings being assessed, named Primary
Product FF-B, raised concern. The EFSA Panel on food additives,
flavourings, processing aids, and materials in contact with food
(AFC) concluded that Primary Product FF-B can be regarded as
weakly genotoxic in vivo (i.e. animal testing has shown that it
can damage DNA, the genetic material in cells). The Panel
therefore could not establish its safety in use when added to
food. However, no comparison was made against traditional smoked
goods on the market. Primary Product AM 1 was described as
potentially toxic to humans by the EFSA on 8 January 2010.