A high-throughput mass spectrometric method is presented for the simultaneous detection of Sudan I, II, III, IV, and Para-Red azodyes in foodstuff. The method is based on the use of deuterium-labeled internal standards and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) in a triple-quadrupole instrument. The gas-phase breakdown pattern of each labeled and unlabeled analogue displays the naphthoic moiety as a common fragment. The search for the parents of this common species (parent ion scans) allows, by flow injection and in a single run, the evaluation of the presence of each polluting species spiked in typical foodstuffs. A detailed assay of each azodye was performed by LC-APCI and isotope dilution method, through the multiple reaction monitoring approach, using deuterium-labeled internal standards. Sudan dyes can be quantified above the threshold of 10 ppb except for Sudan Para-Red, for which the limit of quantification was 20 ppb, likely due to the different ionization efficiency.
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