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Interim Acrylamide Guidance



New acrylamide legislation has come into effect as of today, 11th April. This means food business operators must take necessary steps to manage acrylamide as part of their food safety management systems (FSMS) and ensure acrylamide levels in their food remain as low as is reasonably achievable.

However, the official EU guidance on acrylamide is yet to be released and this has caused confusion for many in the industry.

What is Acrylamide?

When foods with high starch content are heated to high temperatures (above 120 degrees) acrylamide is formed as a result of a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars. Acrylamide is a natural by-product of the cooking process, and can form in the process of frying, grilling, roasting, toasting or baking the following foods:

Roasted potatoes
Root vegetables
Chips
Crisps
Toast
Cakes
Biscuits
Cereals
Coffee


Fortunately, the UKHospitality Interim Acrylamide Guide is available for caterers to refer to ahead of the EU’s official information. The guide was developed by the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland and the Acrylamide Stakeholders Steering Group – including NCASS. NCASS contributed to the guide to provide information to the catering industry.

The Interim Guide explains why the regulation has been put in place, and gives advice on managing acrylamide which is designed to apply to all catering businesses. The guide covers potential hazards and controls that can be put in place to mitigate these as part of the food safety management system for a catering business.

The guide also provides tips for purchasing foods with a high risk of acrylamide from manufacturers as well as guidelines for cooking similar products from scratch.

One method for ensuring the foods specified do not reach dangerous levels of acrylamide exposure is to use a colour chart when cooking. This can be displayed in the kitchen and referred to by all members of staff when aiming for a ‘golden yellow’ colour when cooking starchy foods.


Although the information provided is still awaiting final details from the EU, specifically regarding what kinds of businesses and foods will be affected by the regulation, it is important that food business owners are familiar with best practice guidelines.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, said: “We hope that the EU guidance will be finalised sooner rather than later so that businesses can get to grips with the new legislation and will not be unfairly penalised and given reasonable time to understand and implement any necessary changes needed.”

To read the guidance, click here.



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