Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acrylamide Levels In Food Should Be Reduced Because Of Public Health Concern Says UN Expert Committee

Date:
March 8, 2005
Source:
World Health Organization
Summary:
A summary report released today by a Joint Expert Committee of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the unintentional contaminant acrylamide in certain foods may be of public health concern since it has been shown to cause cancer in animals.

GENEVA/ROME (March 2, 2005) -- A summary report released today by a Joint Expert Committee of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the unintentional contaminant acrylamide in certain foods may be of public health concern since it has been shown to cause cancer in animals. The report, by a committee of 35 experts from 15 countries, called for continued efforts to reduce acrylamide in food.

Related Articles


The neurotoxicity of acrylamide in humans is known from instances of high occupational and accidental exposure when acrylamide is used in industrial processes in the production of plastics and materials. Studies in animals have also shown that acrylamide causes reproductive problems and cancer.

<b>Acrylamide formed in some foods by high cooking temperatures</b>

In 2002, Swedish studies showed for the first time the unintentional formation of relatively high levels of acrylamide during the frying or baking of potatoes and cereal products (at temperatures higher than 120 C). This caused public health concerns, though the health impact of acrylamide levels in foods was uncertain. In the wake of the Swedish study, a special expert consultation was held by FAO and WHO in 2002 to review available data. The experts concluded at that time that a number of additional studies were necessary in order to fully evaluate the toxicity and health impact of acrylamide exposure through foods.

<b>Committee calls for further evaluation following conclusion of on-going studies</b>

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (JECFA) met from 8 – 17 February to consider the possible health risks associated with acrylamide and five other food contaminants. The Committee concluded that, on the basis of the tests in animals, cancer was the most important toxic effect of acrylamide and that consumption of foods with this contaminant at current levels of occurrence may be a public health concern. The conclusion was based on a conservative evaluation, according to the committee, which noted that there is still considerable uncertainty about the mechanism of the toxicity of acrylamide, assumptions used to compare the most relevant animal data to the human situation, and extrapolation of the intake assessments.

Acrylamide is formed when certain foods, particularly plant-based foods that are rich in carbohydrates and low in protein, are cooked at high temperatures such as in frying, roasting or baking, generally at temperatures higher that 120 degrees Celsius. The major foods contributing to acrylamide exposure in countries for which data were available are potato chips and crisps, coffee and cereal-based products (pastries and sweet biscuits, breads, rolls and toast).

The amount of acrylamide can vary dramatically in the same foods depending on several factors, including cooking temperature and time. Because of this, JECFA experts said that it was not possible to issue recommendations on how much of any specific food containing the substance is safe to eat.

<b>Food industry seeking ways to lower acrylamide levels in food</b>

JECFA noted that the food industry has reported that it is evaluating means to reduce acrylamide levels in various foods. The Committee recommended that efforts to reduce acrylamide concentrations in foods continue. The experts also cautioned that major changes in food processing methods to reduce the levels of acrylamide would need to be checked for nutritional quality and safety, including microbiological contamination, and the possible formation of other undesirable chemicals. Consumer acceptability also has to be considered.

JECFA finally recommended that acrylamide be re-evaluated when results of on-going toxicological studies become available. Results from the most relevant long-term studies are expected to be available in two to three years time and these studies may help in reducing the uncertainty in the current risk assessment.

Based on this evaluation FAO and WHO recommend that efforts to reduce acrylamide levels in foodstuffs should continue. National food safety authorities should urge relevant food industries to work towards improving food preparation technologies that lower significantly the acrylamide content in critical foods, particularly potato chips and crisps (French fries and potato chips, respectively), coffee, pastries, sweet biscuits (cookies), breads, rolls and toasts.

Preliminary investigations by industry and other researchers seem to suggest that significant reductions are currently feasible in several foods. The knowledge gained should help in developing guidance for home-prepared foods. Moreover, the latest information available on acrylamide reinforces general advice on healthy eating. Consumers should continue to eat balanced and varied diets, which include plenty of fruit and vegetables, and to moderate their consumption of fried and fatty foods.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Health Organization. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Health Organization. "Acrylamide Levels In Food Should Be Reduced Because Of Public Health Concern Says UN Expert Committee." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307214858.htm>.
World Health Organization. (2005, March 8). Acrylamide Levels In Food Should Be Reduced Because Of Public Health Concern Says UN Expert Committee. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307214858.htm
World Health Organization. "Acrylamide Levels In Food Should Be Reduced Because Of Public Health Concern Says UN Expert Committee." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050307214858.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins