For decades, compounds present in foods and beverages have been implicated in the etiology of human cancers. The World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) continues to classify such agents regarding their potential carcinogenicity in humans based on new evidence from animal and human studies. Furfuryl alcohol and β-myrcene are potential human carcinogens due to be evaluated. The major source of furfuryl alcohol in foods is thermal processing and ageing of alcoholic beverages, while β-myrcene occurs naturally as a constituent of the essential oils of plants such as hops, lemongrass, and derived products. This study aimed to summarize the occurrence of furfuryl alcohol and β-myrcene in foods and beverages using literature review data. Additionally, results of furfuryl alcohol occurrence from our own nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis are included. The highest content of furfuryl alcohol was found in coffee beans (>100 mg/kg) and in some fish products (about 10 mg/kg), while among beverages, wines contained between 1 and 10 mg/L, with 8 mg/L in pineapple juice. The content of β-myrcene was highest in hops. In conclusion, the data about the occurrence of the two agents is currently judged as insufficient for exposure and risk assessment. The results of this study point out the food and beverage groups that may be considered for future monitoring of furfuryl alcohol and β-myrcene.
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