The guide is part of a bid by the EU Confederation of Food and Drinks Industries (CIAA) to sharetechniques among its smaller members, who may not have access to the resources available to largercompanies.
Reducing acrylamide in foods industry wide can only help improve the public perception about foodsafety, which has suffered in recent years. The CIAA is also working with the EU and regulators tofind ways to reduce acrylamide.
Acrylamide hit the headlines in 2002 when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration firstreported unexpectedly high levels of the potential carcinogen in carbohydrate-rich foods cooked athigh temperatures. Until then acrylamide was known only as a highly reactive industrial chemical,present also at low levels for example in tobacco smoke.
Since the Swedish discovery a global effort has been underway to amass data about this chemical.More than 200 research projects have been initiated around the world, and their findings co-ordinatedby national governments, the EU and the United Nations.
Recent findings, propelled by UK scientist Professor Don Mottram at the University of Reading,suggest that the free amino acid asparagine, found naturally in potatoes and cereals, could play akey role in the formation of acrylamide. Tests show that when the amino acid is heated, it reactswith sugar to create acrylamide, a process called the Maillard reaction.
wide range of cooked foods - prepared industrially, in catering, or at home - containacrylamide at levels between a few parts per billion (ppb) to over 1000 ppb. The foods includebread, fried potatoes and coffee as well as specialty products like potato crisps, biscuits, crispbread, and a range of other heat-processed products.
The document issued by the CIAA provides descriptions of the intervention steps being evaluatedby food manufacturers. In some cases the procedures are already being used by food processors, areundergoing testing or are the result of laboratory studies.
The CIAA will update the guidance as new processes are discovered or achieve trial stages. Thefinal goal is to find appropriate and practical solutions to reduce the overall dietary exposure toacrylamide, the CIAA stated.
The document is a result of over three years of research.