Previous studies with mice to assess the risk from substances in well-done meat may be incorrect, due to recently discovered differences in the metabolisms of humans and mice. Specifically, enzymes in the human body called sulfotransferases can transform harmless substances into carcinogenic substances.
The new study, by researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, used a special mouse type where human enzymes were inserted to examine whether people may be more sensitive to certain carcinogenic substances in heat-treated foods.
Worryingly, the results showed that the incidence of intestinal tumors increased from 31 percent to 80 percent in the human-like mice who consumed substances from the meat's crust.
The study notes that the formation of carcinogenic substances - so-called food mutagens - usually occurs at high temperatures when frying or grilling.
The researchers conclude that normal laboratory mice are not a good model for assessing the health risk to humans following ingestion of food mutagens from well-done meat and fish.
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Source: Norwegian Institute of Public Health