news

Acrylamide in food is a public health concern, says EFSA

Posted: 4 June 2015 | | No comments yet

Experts from EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain have reconfirmed that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its scientific opinion on acrylamide in food.

acrylamide

Experts from EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) have reconfirmed previous evaluations that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups. This conclusion has not changed since the draft opinion was made available for an open public consultation in July 2014.

Webinar: eBook: Thermo Fisher Scientific Food Integrity Collection 2017

Over the course of the year Thermo Fisher Scientific have provided expert comment on a whole swathe of issues including food fraud, origin testing and labelling regulations. This collection also provides access to Thermo Fisher’s Food Authenticity webinar series for 2017, where experts delve into olive oil characterisation, gelatin speciation, honey and chromatography, and more.

Click here to find out more

Acrylamide is a chemical that naturally forms in starchy food products during every-day high-temperature cooking. The main chemical process that causes this is known as the Maillard Reaction; it is the same reaction that ‘browns’ food and affects its taste. Acrylamide forms from sugars and amino acids (mainly one called asparagine) that are naturally present in many foods.

New Food Waste, 16 November, ManchesterDon't miss our new Food Waste conference!

This event pioneers the conversation on issues relating to food waste, from legislation to packaging and household trends. It will also equip delegates with the strategies and techniques for measuring, monitoring and analysing supply chain to identify areas of food wastage.

Find out more

 


Acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide damage DNA and are carcinogenic

Evidence from animal studies shows that acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide are genotoxic and carcinogenic: they damage DNA and cause cancer. Following ingestion, acrylamide is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, distributed to all organs and extensively metabolised. Glycidamide is one of the main metabolites resulting from this process and the most likely cause of the gene mutations and tumours seen in animal studies.

Besides cancer, the Panel also considered possible harmful effects of acrylamide on the nervous system, pre- and post-natal development and male reproduction. These effects were not considered to be a concern, based on current levels of dietary exposure.

Evidence from human studies that dietary exposure to acrylamide causes cancer is currently limited and inconclusive.

Food groups contributing to acrylamide exposure include fried potato products, coffee, biscuits, crackers, crisp bread and soft bread

Since acrylamide is present in a wide range of everyday foods, this health concern applies to all consumers but children are the most exposed age group on a body weight basis. The most important food groups contributing to acrylamide exposure are fried potato products, coffee, biscuits, crackers, crisp bread and soft bread.

The Chair of the CONTAM Panel, Dr Diane Benford said, “The public consultation helped us to fine-tune the scientific opinion. In particular, we have further clarified our evaluation of studies on the effects of acrylamide in humans and our description of the main food sources of acrylamide for consumers. Also, recent studies that we became aware of during the public consultation phase have been integrated into the final scientific opinion.”

EFSA’s scientific advice will inform EU and national decision-makers when weighing up possible measures for further reducing consumer exposure to acrylamide in food. 

Send this to a friend