Naturally Occurring Mutagens and Carcinogens Found in Foods and Beverages

Published November 1, 2002

Acetaldehyde (apples, bread, coffee, tomatoes)—mutagen and potent rodent carcinogen
Acrylamide (bread, rolls)—rodent and human neurotoxin; rodent carcinogen
Aflatoxin (nuts)—mutagen and potent rodent carcinogen; also a human carcinogen
Allyl isothiocyanate (arugula, broccoli, mustard)—mutagen and rodent carcinogen
Aniline (carrots)—rodent carcinogen
Benzaldehyde (apples, coffee, tomatoes)—rodent carcinogen
Benzene (butter, coffee, roast beef)—rodent carcinogen
Benzo(a)pyrene (bread, coffee, pumpkin pie, rolls, tea)—mutagen and rodent carcinogen
Benzofuran (coffee)—rodent carcinogen
Benzyl acetate (jasmine tea)—rodent carcinogen
Caffeic acid (apples, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, coffee, grapes, lettuce, mangos, pears, potatoes)—rodent carcinogen
Catechol (coffee)—rodent carcinogen
Coumarin (cinnamon in pies)—rodent carcinogen
1,2,5,6-dibenz(a)anthracene (coffee)—rodent carcinogen
Estragole (apples, basil)—rodent carcinogen
Ethyl alcohol (bread, red wine, rolls)—rodent and human carcinogen
Ethyl acrylate (pineapple)—rodent carcinogen
Ethyl benzene (coffee)—rodent carcinogen
Ethyl carbamate (bread, rolls, red wine)—mutagen and rodent carcinogen
Furan and furan derivatives (bread, onions, celery, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce, coffee)—many are mutagens
Furfural (bread, coffee, nuts, rolls, sweet potatoes)—furan derivative and rodent carcinogen
Heterocyclic amines (roast beef, turkey)—mutagens and rodent carcinogens
Hydrazines (mushrooms)—mutagens and rodent carcinogens
Hydrogen peroxide (coffee, tomatoes)—mutagen and rodent carcinogen
Hydroquinone (coffee)—rodent carcinogen
d-limonene (black pepper, mangos)—rodent carcinogen
4-methylcatechol (coffee)—rodent carcinogen
Methyl eugenol (basil, cinnamon and nutmeg in apple and pumpkin pies)—rodent carcinogen
Psoralens (celery, parsley)—mutagens; rodent and human carcinogens
Quercetin glycosides (apples, onions, tea, tomatoes)—mutagens and rodent carcinogens
Safrole (nutmeg in apple and pumpkin pies, black pepper)—rodent carcinogen