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New Acrylamide Legislation

From 11th April 2018 Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 will take effect, meaning 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.

Business operators must understand how acrylamide is formed in the foods they cook and the dangers it can present. They should also take regular measures to monitor levels of acrylamide in foods and keep record of these measures and the results found.

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

Why is it a problem?

Recent laboratory studies have shown that consuming acrylamide causes cancer in animals. Although it cannot be proven that acrylamide has the same affect on humans, it is important that we take steps to reduce exposure due to the potential dangers.

• Aim for a golden yellow colour when cooking starchy foods, rather than burning them.
• Follow cooking instructions printed on packaging.
• Don’t keep raw potatoes in the fridge. This may lead to the formation of more free sugars in the food, which will result in high acrylamide levels when cooked at a high temperature. Store potatoes in cool, dark places above 6 degrees.
• Fry foods at lower temperatures if possible.
• Frequently change oils and fats.
• Avoid bruised potatoes.

The British Hospitality Association are working with the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland to publish a guide to managing acrylamide for caterers. We will provide access to this document for our members as soon as it becomes available.

Watch the FSA's video on acrylamide here.

Watch the European Potato Processors 'Golden Frying Recipe' video here.

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