Canadian Cancer Society logo
You are here: 

Oyster and soy sauce

During the last few years, there has been some talk about cancer-causing chemicals in liquid condiments – in particular, oyster and soy sauces. The manufacturing process for these products can cause the formation of 3-MCPD, a chemical that may cause cancer. From published reports, we have learned the following:

  • 3-MCPD has been found mainly in a number of oyster and soy sauces sold in Canada and other countries. The levels of 3-MCPD are different from product to product, ranging from very low levels to very high levels.
  • 3-MCPD is part of the chloropropanol group of chemicals and is a possible carcinogen in humans.
  • Health Canada has concluded that there is no health risk to Canadians from use of available soy and oyster sauces. Because continuous lifetime exposure to high levels of 3-MCPD could pose a health risk, Health Canada has established 1.0 part per million (ppm) as a guideline for importers of these sauces, in order to reduce Canadian's long-term exposure to this chemical. This is considered to be a very safe level.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has advised importers and manufacturers that the level of 3-MCPD in these products must be below 1.0 ppm. CFIA has been watching the level of 3-MCPD in these products, and it announces health hazard alerts when the level exceeds this guideline.

To find these health alerts, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.



Dr Xiaoyan Jiang Dr Xiaoyan Jiang found a way to predict how a type of leukemia will respond to treatment.

Learn more

A home away from home

Illustration of house

For cancer patients who must travel a great distance to get to treatment, Canadian Cancer Society lodges offer a welcoming place to stay.

Learn more