The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is launching a public consultation on a draft Scientific Opinion, which confirms previous assessments that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers of all age groups.
Acrylamide is generated in certain foods during high temperature cooking processes such as baking and frying. It is found in a range of products, including biscuits, breads, coffee and fried potato chips. It is produced as a by-product of the Maillard browning reaction that occurs during cooking. Swedish researchers first discovered its presence in foods in 2002, since when extensive studies have been undertaken to determine if it presents any risk to human health.
EFSA’s expert panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain compiled the new draft Opinion. The Panel Chair, Dr Diane Benford commented, “Acrylamide consumed orally is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, distributed to all organs and extensively metabolised. Glycidamide, one of the main metabolites from this process, is the most likely cause of the gene mutations and tumours seen in animal studies.”
The consultation will be open until 15 September and the deadline for final adoption of the Opinion is June 2015. More information can be found here and a Food Safety Watch factsheet on acrylamide is available here.