As food safety is the restaurant industry’s top priority, CRFA supports the ongoing, rigorous, scientific investigation of acrylamide in the diet.
Acrylamide causes concern because it has been linked to cancer in laboratory rodents at high doses and has been identified by Canada and international scientific bodies as a possible human carcinogen.
What the food industry is doing
While scientific investigation continues, the food industry is making significant progress in understanding acrylamide and implementing measures to reduce levels in various products. For example:
- Some companies are selecting potatoes with naturally low levels of sugar and for French fries, which helps control the formation of acrylamide when cooked.
- Companies are working to reduce acrylamide by lowering cooking temperatures, increasing moisture levels, selecting different varieties of input products and changing storage temperatures.
Tools for industry
Specific practices can be found in these internationally recognized guides for industry:
- Food Drink Europe – Acrylamide Toolbox 2011
- Code of Practice for the Reduction of Acrylamide Codex Alimentarius
Additional tools and guidelines have been developed by French fry suppliers to assist foodservice operators mitigate acrylamide formation, particularly in French fries:
Acrylamide has been present in the human diet ever since we began using fire to cook food. First identified in food in 2002, it is a chemical compound that forms naturally as a bi-product of certain cooking methods such as frying, grilling, toasting and baking.
Regardless of where food products are prepared – in a restaurant, food manufacturing facility or in a consumer’s home kitchen – acrylamide will form when certain foods are cooked using these methods. Foods with acrylamide include prunes, olives, baked potatoes, chips, fries, crackers, coffee, asparagus, cereals, and toast along with many other foods that are part of a normal, balanced diet.
Acrylamide is not unique to Canada. Dietary exposure to acrylamide by Canadians is equivalent to international exposure estimates. As foods with acrylamide are prevalent, eliminating any one food or food type with acrylamide would not significantly reduce acrylamide in the total diet.
Leading government food safety authorities around the world, including Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, have yet to determine a dietary limit for acrylamide. These organizations continue to advise consumers wishing to reduce or limit their acrylamide intake to eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.