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[SANET-MG] more pesto today
My reply to Dale was somehow mixed up by my computer and make it look
as if my comments came from Dale, I am sorry about that and apologize
on behalf of my erant computer.
This morning I found one standard for methyl eugenol but from the
fragerance people. That standard makes it hard to understand how basil
is considered a threat. sincerely,joe
IFRA STANDARD M E T H Y L E U G E N O L
RIFM summaries: The currently available metabolic, biochemical and
found for ME in laboratory species provide clear evidence of
non-linearity in the
dose-response relationship for ME with respect to metabolic activation
associated with carcinogenic effects. Consideration of these data
No-observed-Effect-Level for ME in the rat in the dose-range of 1-10
The average human is taken to be 70Kg so the no effect level in human is
70 to 700mg per day (that a lot of pesto I think). If basil has 10 ppm
ME that would be 70 to 700 Kg of basil per day. Usually, a safety factor
of 10, 100 or 1000 is tacked on the no effect level depending on how the
reguglators are feeling that day you seem to need to eat a ton or so of
pesto a day to be in danger.
Dale Wilson wrote:
>I have not been able to find an accepted safety limit for methyl
euginol in the literature or in FAO, IARC or FDA. As I pointed out
earlier there was a clear consensus in the literature (I am enclosing
quotes from two articles on metyl euginol risk below) all the peer
reviwed articles indicate that the levels of methyl euginol that are
found as spices in foods are not high enough to significantly cause cancer.
The claims of methyl euginol in food such as pesto at a level 600 times
the "accepted safety limit" are not found in the peer reviewed
publications of science. The consensus is that methyl euginol is
cancer causing in rodents but the levels of it found in flavoring are
too low to be of concern (see below). What I am pointing out the
claims of the newspaper article seem to be exaggerated and not
consistent with the consensus of food scientists. The
claims of the newspaper seem to be pure public relations. I think your
comments deal with something else?
Food Chem Toxicol. 2002,40:851-70
Safety assessment of allylalkoxybenzene derivatives used as flavouring
substances - methyl eugenol and estragole.
"In particular, rodent studies show that these events are minimal
probably in the dose range of 1-10 mg/kg body weight, which is
approximately 100-1000 times the anticipated human exposure to these
substances. For these reasons it is concluded that present exposure to
methyl eugenol and estragole resulting from consumption of food, mainly
spices and added as such, does not pose a significant cancer risk."
Toxicol Sci. 2002 Aug;68(2):275-9.
Thresholds of carcinogenicity of flavors.
"The three compounds with three doses fit a linear plot with a
correlation coefficient of at least 0.9; the four doses in male rats of
methyl eugenol fit a linear plot with a correlation coefficient of
0.999983. The intercept at zero percentage tumors of these linear fits
was at least several orders of magnitude greater than the estimated
daily dose of these flavoring agents to individuals in the United
States. This is interpreted to indicate that these flavoring agents have
a clear threshold for carcinogenicity in animals that is well above the
levels currently approved for use in foods; consequently, these animal
studies should not be a cause for concern for carcinogenicity of these
compounds in humans. Rather, the animal studies should be viewed as
providing evidence for the safety of these compounds at current levels
of human exposure."
>>A bitter row has broken out in Italy over the alleged toxicity of
>>one of the nation's favourite foods: pesto...
>>The problem ingredient is a carcinogenic agent called methyl-eugenol,
>>which is found to be present in the leaves of young basil plants...
>>According to Professor Francesco Sala of the Umberto Veronesi
>>Foundation, in a plate of spaghetti with pesto doc "there is a
>>concentration of methyl-eugenol 600 times higher than the accepted
>Yes, a bizarre sort of argument to use to support transgenics. The
>basil argument does point out the absurdly conservative nature of
>carcinogenic risk estimation methods applied to pesticides and food
>additives. Bruce Ames and Lois Gold wrote a helpful paper about this
>several years ago.
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