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Cooking meat adds to cancer-causing mutagens.

Cooking Meat Adds to Cancer-Causing Mutagens

Using monoclonal antibodies, scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, say they are now able to measure the amounts of six carcinogenic compounds found in overcooked beef, chicken, and fish. James Felton, the lead researcher, said the group has also detected four previously unidentified chemicals in overdone foods.

This ability to identify and measure the ten compounds, he said, is the first step in determining whether the compounds, which have been found to cause cancer in animals, are a problem for humans.

Rather than being the result of contaminants that cling to meat when it is charred in a barbeque pit, the newly detected mutagens are produced by the natural constituents of the meat itself, generally when it is heated above about 390 degrees Fahrenheit.

The researchers found that meat cooked at around 300 degrees had only "small amounts" of mutagens. The finding may have the most serious implications for proprietors of fast-food restaurants and soup manufacturers, all of whom use high temperatures to prepare their foods.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
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