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Dietary Acrylamide is a food contaminant which poses a health threat to millions of people around the world. It is present in thousands of food and beverage products consumed all over the world. In fact, everyone who eats cooked or manufactured food consumes acrylamide on a regular basis.

Classified As Carcinogenic By WHO

Acrylamide is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be “probably carcinogenic” to humans. It is also known to be mutagenic, neurotoxic and genotoxic. Studies show that it presents a health risk to babies and children.  Acrylamide in foods consumed by pregnant women may cause a reduction in their baby’s birth weight and head circumference.

Health Canada, says that younger children typically ingest each day twice as much acrylamide (per kilogram of body weight) as adults because of their smaller bodies.

In a research carried out by the European Food Safety Authority in 2015, it concluded that current acrylamide levels in the diets of large sections of the population is a concern, with respect to its carcinogenic effects.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) states that research shows that more acrylamide is formed at higher temperatures and longer cooking times. Therefore, one should avoid over cooking fried, baked or grilled potato and cereal products and also avoid eating partially burned food.

How does it form?

Acrylamide is not added to food but instead forms when carbohydrate-based food items containing a naturally occurring amino acid, asparagine, interact with reducing sugars through frying, baking or toasting above 120 °C. Since 2002, governmental food safety agencies from around the world have confirmed and monitored acrylamide’s presence in many different foods, including processed potato products (french fries, chips) and other foods (biscuits, crackers, bread, toast, crisp and soft breads, fried dough sticks, rice and coffee).

European Union, USFDA Limit Acrylamide in Food

Acrylamide continues to be an important issue for health regulatory bodies worldwide, including the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and Health Canada. Other countries (Hong Kong, Japan, etc.) have issued reports over the last 12–24 months emphasizing ways for food manufacturers to lower the acrylamide content in their products to ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) levels. In the U.S. last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued voluntary guidelines for U.S.-based manufacturers.

The new regulations from EU to reduce the incidence of acrylamide, as well as benchmark levels for food products will apply from 11th April 2018 or depending on the nature of their operation, food businesses will have to apply the required measures from 11th April 2018.

Regulations on Acrylamide needed in India

foodnetindia urges the central government and FSSAI to introduce regulations limiting the usage of Acrylamide in food so that the health of millions of Indians can be safeguarded from unsafe levels  of carcinogenic Acrylamide in Food products in India.

Sources:

https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/the-bane-of-snack-foods-acrylamide/

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