The FSA has recently launched it’s Go for Gold campaign to make the public aware of the risks of overcooking some foods and causing acrylamide formation. Acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between amino acids and sugars. It typically occurs when foods with high starch content such as potatoes, root vegetables and bread, are cooked at high temperatures (over 120°C) in a process of frying, roasting or baking.
Acrylamide in food has the potential to cause cancer in humans as well and it would be prudent to reduce exposure. Acrylamide is found in wide range of foods including roasted potatoes and root vegetables, chips, crisps, toast, cakes, biscuits, cereals and coffee.
You can help to prevent acrylamide by:
If you are a manufacturer you may be interested in looking at the ‘toolkit’, a document detailing ways of reducing acrylamide for a number of foods and processes. FoodDrinkEurope (which represents the food and drink industry’s interests at the European and international level) has put this document together.
If you are in catering and food service then look out for the best practice guide that is currently being developed by the British Hospitality Association, other stakeholders and the FSA. This will help to identify and implement measures to reduce acrylamide levels in food they cook.