Acrylamide - what you need to know

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Acrylamide - what you need to know

The government have now brought in legislation requiring food businesses to consider Acrylamide in their Food Safety Management Systems and reduce it where practical.

Acrylamide is a chemical produced naturally in food as a result of cooking starch rich food at high temperatures, such as when baking or frying, grilling and roasting food and it has the potential to increase the chance of cancer in humans over their lifetime .    It is considered a chemical hazard in the food chain.

Businesses will be expected to reduce the level in foods to as low as reasonably achievable to reduce the overall risk of cancer.  

They must:

  • Be aware of acrylamide as a food safety hazard and have a general understanding of how acrylamide is formed in the food they produce;
  • Take the necessary steps to mitigate acrylamide formation in the food they produce; adopting the relevant measures as part of their food safety management procedures
  • Undertake representative sampling and analysis where appropriate, to monitor the levels of acrylamide in their products as part of their assessment of the mitigation measures
  • Keep appropriate records of the mitigation measures undertaken, together with sampling plans and results of any testing

 

The measures will be proportionate to the nature and size of the business, to ensure that small and micro-businesses are not burdened. The new legislation applies to all Food Business Operators that produce or sell the foods listed below:

  • French fries, other cut (deep fried) products and sliced potato crisps from fresh potatoes
  • Potato crisps, snacks, crackers and other potato products from potato dough
  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereals (excluding porridge)
  • Fine bakery wares: cookies, biscuits, rusks, cereal bars, scones, cornets, wafers, crumpets and gingerbread, as well as crackers, crisp breads and bread substitutes
  • Coffee: (i) roast coffee; (ii) instant (soluble) coffee
  • Coffee substitutes
  • Baby food and processed cereal-based food intended for infants and young children

 

Mitigation measures include the selection of low starch potatoes, storage in certain conditions, specific frying temperature, blanching, test frying, consideration of recipe ingredients and colour specification for baked products.  For the full guidance see here.

Further information is available on the Food Standards Agency website or from us here at Safety In Action.