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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Oil of Rue

The GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Database allows access to opinions and conclusions from 115 SCOGS reports published between 1972-1980 on the safety of over 370 Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food substances. The GRAS ingredient reviews were conducted by the Select Committee in response to a 1969 White House directive by President Richard M. Nixon.

Oil of Rue

  • SCOGS-Report Number: 14*
  • Type Of Conclusion: 2
  • ID Code: 8014-29-7
  • Year: 1973
  • 21 CFR Section: 184.1699

SCOGS Opinion:

The data available indicate that the quantity of oil of rue in the diet is minute, probably as little as one microgram per person per day. Adverse effects due to oil of rue from long-term exposure at such a low level in the human diet are not evident in the meager data now available. It is to be noted, however, that oil of rue is a complex of organic substances only a few of which have been identified. Chemical identification of all the substances in the oil could be accomplished with present analytical techniques and would provide positive assurance that oil of rue does not contain components known to be toxic. Moreover, the evidence that oil of rue is absorbed, can pass the placenta and is toxic to fetal tissues at relatively high doses, suggests the desireability, in due course, of conducting teratological and fetal toxicity tests at oral dosages equivalent to the present very low levels of consumption. The Select Committee recognizes that there is little incentive to develop this kind of information for a substance that is used in the U.S. to the extent of less than 100 pounds per year. The Select Committee has weighed the foregoing and concludes that: There is no evidence in the available information on oil of rue that demonstrates a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced.

*Complete reports containing details of the safety studies that formed the basis of the opinions and conclusions and are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161 (703) 605-6000.