]]]]]]]]]]      NATURALLY OCCURRING TOXINS IN FOODS      [[[[[[[[[[[[ 
               By Oleg Panczenko (Freeman 10602PANC)

           "The whole world is made of carcinogens."
                      - Bruce N. Ames (1987)

     SOME NATURALLY OCCURRING TOXINS, CARCINOGENS, MUTAGENS,
               AND TUMORIGENS IN SOME COMMON FOODS

Food               Chemical(s)                  Amount     Effect
                                                  (1)        (2)

alfalfa sprouts    canavanine                   15,000 ppm  toxin
basil              estragole                                carc
beer               ethyl carbamate                 1-5 ppb  tumor
black pepper       piperine                      10% by wt  carc
black pepper       safrole                                  carc
bracken fern       tannins                                  carc
bread              ethyl carbamate                 1-5 ppb  tumor
bread, fresh       formaldehyde                             carc
bread              urethane                                 carc
broccoli           allyl isothiocyanate                     carc
butter             diacetyl                                 mutag
cabbage            allyl isothiocyanate                     carc
cauliflower        allyl isothiocyanate                     carc
celery             psoralens                       100 ppb  mutag
chicken, grilled   carcinogenic nitropyrenes (3)            carc
cinnamon           safrole                                  carc
coffee             benzo(a)pyrene (4)                       carc
coffee             caffeine                                 toxin
coffee             chlorogenic acid                         mutag
coffee             diacetyl                                 mutag
coffee             hydrogen peroxide                        carc
coffee             methyl glyoxal                           mutag
coffee             tannins                                  carc
coltsfoot          senkirkine                      150 ppm  tumor
comfrey (5)        symphytine                               tumor
fennel             estragole                                carc
fiddlehead greens  ptaquiloside                             carc
horseradish        allyl isothiocyanate         50-100 ppm  carc
mace               safrole                                  carc
morel, false (6)   metyl hydrazine                  14 ppm  carc
morel, false (6)   myromitrin                     ~500 ppm  carc
morel, false (6)   N-methyl-N-formylhydrazine      500 ppm  carc
mushroom, common   parahydrazinobenzoic acid        10 ppm  carc
mustard, brown     allyl isothiocyanate         50-100 ppm  carc
nutmeg             safrole                                  carc
parsnips           psoralens                        40 ppm  mutag
potatoes           chaconine                        75 ppm  toxin
potatoes           solanine                                 toxin
red wines          tannins                                  carc
rocket (arugula)   allyl isothiocyanate                     carc
sake               urethane                                 carc
shrimp (7)         formaldehyde                             carc
soy sauce          ethyl carbamate                 1-5 ppb  tumor
star anise         safrole                                  carc
tarragon           estragole                                carc
tea                tannins                                  carc
tomato puree       methylglyoxal                            mutag
wine               ethyl carbamate                 1-5 ppb  tumor
yogurt             ethyl carbamate                 1-5 ppb  tumor

   Notes:  (1)  Given  if mentioned  in  the  references.  (2)
   Abbreviations: carc, carcinogenic; mutag, mutagenic; tumor,
   tumorigenic.  (3)  These carcinogenic nitropyrenes are also
   present  in  diesel  exhaust.  (4)   When  amino  acids and
   amines (both of which are widely found in foods) are heated
   at high temperatures, they produce benzo(a)pyrene.  (5) The
   leaves  and  roots  of Russian  comfrey  are  sold  in many
   health-food stores and are used  as medicine, in salads, or
   brewed to make a  tea.  (6) The false  morel is a mushroom.
   (7)  Formaldehyde develops  in  a shrimp's  flesh  after it
   dies.

                          Bibliography

Bruce N. Ames, Renae Magaw, Lois Swirsky Gold.  Ranking Possible
  Carcinogenic Hazards.  Science, 17 April 1987, pp. 271-280.

Marla Cone.  "Scoffing Through the Apocalypse."  California
  Magazine, August 1987, p. 75.

William R. Havender and Leonard T. Flynn.  Does Nature Know Best?
  Natural Carcinogens in American Food.  July 1987. (The American
  Council on Science and Health, 47 Maple Street, Summit, NJ
  07901; $2.00)

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