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Is liquid smoke safe?

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I like to use liquid smoke to add flavor to my cooking. The other day someone at work told me that it has carcinogens in it, though. Is it safe to use?
asked Jan 26, 2016 in Food and Drink by Catherine L.
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The concerns seem to arise from research that liquid smoke has carcinogens and compounds that alter DNA. However, evidence seems to be inconclusive as to whether or not foods with this ingredient should be avoided. In fact, some scientists say that it's okay to eat these currently as further research needs to be done.

Smoked foods are more likely to be risky than foods with liquid smoke.
If you want to avoid using liquid smoke as an ingredient, there are near-like substances that are often used as safer substitutes in cooking. These include Scotch whiskey, smoked paprika and hickory smoke powders. As always, test each recipe with a substitute ingredient first to make sure it works out.

http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/04/14/does-liquid-smoke-cause-cancer/

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/cancer_biologists_find_dna_damaging_toxins_in_common_plant_based_foods

answered Jan 28, 2016 by Topher (27,830 points)
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I think this really comes down to what you are comfortable with. There are potential dangers all around us: cooking with aluminum (might cause alzheimer's), using cell phones (might cause brain cancer).

Then, there are plenty of foods that we commonly eat that are known to have carcinogens in them [1]:

burnt popcorn
hotdogs
french fries
processed meats
anything made with white flour

If you enjoy using liquid smoke, then consider using it sparingly.

[1] Source: http://www.3fatchicks.com/6-high-carcinogen-foods-to-avoid/
answered Feb 2, 2016 by Neeznoodle (7,080 points)
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Liquid smoke is a yellow to red liquid used for flavoring. Liquid smoke is produced by the destructive distillation of wood, preferably birch. Liquid smoke is used as a seasoning to add a smokey flavor to various foods.[2] Thanks to modern food technology, you can spot “Natural Smoke Flavor”, “Wood Smoke”, or “Liquid Smoke” as additives in various foods.

 

As to whether liquid smoke is safe to consume as a food flavoring, various studies have been conducted in the quest to come up with a conclusive answer to this contentious question. So far though, there have been very few conclusive studies that have come out to proclaim that liquid smoke is actually 'not safe' to be used as a food flavoring.[1]

 

The alleged harmful compounds that are found in liquid smoke are usually in very small quantities and in varying degrees depending on the source of the smoke and many other contributing factors. The best thing to do is to not get too fond of smoked flavored foods and only eat them once in a while.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://blog.fooducate.com/2014/07/09/is-smoke-flavoring-safe/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_smoke

answered Feb 2, 2016 by benbailey (5,400 points)

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