Acrylamide


Acrylamide is a chemical compound that is formed during most high-temperature cooking processes. It is naturally present in many everyday food products. Most industrial and commercial cooking methods can cause acrylamide formation (frying, roasting, baking). Cooking at home may also lead to the formation of this compound. Acrylamide is generated by a chemical reaction, i.e. heat-induced (mainly above 120°C) at low humidity, which transforms the sugar and amino acids naturally present in starchy food products. This reaction, known as the Maillard Reaction, enhances the taste of the cooked item, while being also responsible for the brownish colour it often gives to food. The level of acrylamide of a given product is thus linked to how it was cooked and to its basic ingredients but is also notably influenced by storage conditions. It is important to be aware that acrylamide is mainly found in fried products.

In June 2015 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its first full risk assessment concerning the acrylamide in food. EFSA experts confirm that acrylamide in food can increase cancer risks for consumers of all age and consider it a public health concern. Taking into account standard diet composition and body weight information, children are the age group most exposed to acrylamide.

SAFE aims to raise consumer awareness of acrylamide, inform about legislative developments, and advocate to reduce the exposure of citizens to acrylamide through the adoption of strong legally binding maximum levels of acrylamide in our food.

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