An industrial red dye - implicated in causing cancers in rats - has entered the human food chain in at least 15 different countries, it emerged on
The presence of the Sudan I dye in hundreds of food products in the UK was revealed by the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA) on 18 February, prompting
a massive recall of foods. The list of contaminated products rose to 474 on Thursday.
The dye had been added to the foods through the use of contaminated Worcester sauce. The tangy sauce was added as a flavouring to a range of soups,
potato crisps and ready meals.
11:17 25 February 2005
Boobis describes one study where rats were given 30 milligrams of the dye per kilogram of body weight - every day over two years - and developed
cancerous changes in their livers. But this effect was not seen in a similar experiment in mice.
These studies were published in 1982. No work has been done on people. However, more recent short term studies have examined Sudan I's effects on
animal and human DNA and found a mutagenic result.
"The dye undergoes a transformation to a very unstable product which attaches to the nucleic acid bases - the backbone of DNA," explains Boobis.
This can cause mutations in the DNA which can then be passed on to future generations of tissue cells when the cell divides and the DNA is duplicated.
Other changes are needed to render a cell cancerous, but this DNA reaction is a first step.
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Better stay away from the Worcester sauce for a while. Along with chips, chilli powder, soups, and so on. Think twice before you buy anything that
might have red dye in it. Certainly avoid anything produced by Premier Foods.
Under the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC's)'s guidelines, Sudan I is deemed unclassifiable as a carcinogen. "It doesn't mean it's
a non-carcinogen, but at the same time there's not enough evidence" to say that it is, says Vincent Cogliano, head of IARC's Monographs series of
books, which evaluate chemicals as carcinogens, in Paris, France.
But he cautions that the IARC has not evaluated Sudan I for 30 years. "The data is really inadequate to draw any conclusions," he told New
[edit on 27-2-2005 by Bourgeoisie]
[edit on 2-27-2005 by William One Sac]