Our food should be safe to eat and contaminants should be eliminated as much as possible by the industry and where needed, with strong regulations. The presence of acrylamide, a carcinogenic and genotoxic compound, is of concern because it is prevalent in everyday foods such as bread, coffee, potato fries, biscuits and baby foods. Since its discovery in food in 2002, extensive research has been conducted to better understand the process of acrylamide formation and identify methods to prevent this. In this context, the food industry first published a toolkit identifying preventative measures in 2006 and argued for voluntary programmes. However, the results of regular food sampling conducted by Member States since 2007 show disappointingly that food business operators are failing to apply such measures voluntarily with acrylamide levels in food failing to be reduced across major food groups. In addition, recent studies from the European Food Safety Authority and French Food Safety Authority (ANSES) have stressed health concerns about acrylamide exposure, particularly for babies and young children. Changing Markets is working with our partners to ensure that robust legislation and clear standards are put in place at European level to ensure consumers are protected from acrylamide exposure.
Heading for burnout: why the food industry and regulators need to wake Up to the acrylamide crisis
Acrylamide is a carcinogenic chemical that was discovered in food by the Swedish scientists in early 2000s. This briefing brings together publically available information regarding acrylamide’s prevalence in food on the European market and its toxicity. It also includes a review of the legislative context, including measures put in place so far by EU countries to encourage voluntary efforts from the food industry to reduce its presence in food. The briefing concludes with a set of recommendations on how the European Commission’s proposal could be improved to kick start real progress in reducing acrylamide levels in food.
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Acrylamide levels in food: passing the hot potato
This report reveals the extent to which acrylamide, a carcinogenic chemical, is present in many everyday foods such as bread, coffee, French fries, biscuits and baby foods. The analysis of information released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found that 12 per cent of food samples taken from the European market between 2007 and 2014, including many food items targeted at babies and children, presented unacceptably high levels of acrylamide. The report concludes with recommendations for policy makers on a legal framework to ensure that business operators in the agricultural, manufacturing and hospitality sectors make real efforts to protect consumers from excessive acrylamide exposure.
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