Acrylamide regulation inches forward to spring 2018 start

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/Zerbor
© iStock/Zerbor

Related tags European union

EU representatives have voted in favour of the Commission’s regulation to reduce acrylamide in food meaning it is one step further to entering into force in spring 2018.

Food manufacturers and caterers will have to carry out mandatory measures to reduce acrylamide.

These proposed measures, which can be read here​,​ will be proportionate to the size and nature of their establishment.

''Today we took an important step in protecting the health and well-being of citizens,” ​said commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.

“The new regulation will not only help to reduce the presence of this carcinogenic substance but also will help raise awareness on how to avoid the exposure to it that oftentimes comes from home-cooking.''

The text will now go to the Council and members of the European Parliament, which will have three months to examine it before it is definitively adopted by the Commission.

This means it could be in force in spring 2018. Once this is the case, the Commission has said it plans to begin discussions “without delay​” on additional measures, including setting maximum levels in certain foods.

Acrylamide is a carcinogenic substance that forms when the amino acid, free asparagine (naturally occurring in food) and sugars undergo– high temperature processing, such as frying, roasting and baking.

Starchy foods such as potato- or cereal-based products  coffee and coffee substitutes. are at risk

The presence of acrylamide in food was initially detected in 2002 and a scientific opinion published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2015 concluded that levels of dietary exposure to acrylamide were of concern due to its carcinogenic effects.

EFSA also noted that levels had not consistently fallen in EU member states, and that efforts by manufacturers to reduce levels varied widely.

Industry trade group FoodDrinkEurope, which represents the interests of Europe's food and drink manufacturers, said it welcomed the publication.

Europe’s food and drink industry has worked on the mitigation of acrylamide on a cooperative basis since the discovery of its presence in food in 2002, and this legislation builds upon this work​,” it said in a statement.

FoodDrinkEurope looks forward to the implementation of the Regulation on acrylamide, with the mandatory application of mitigation measures, and its members remain committed to reduce the presence of acrylamide.”

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1 comment

Independent SMEs to be exempt

Posted by Bob Salmon,

Following detailed discussion with Franz Verstraete from DG Santé they have accepted our argument that small independent food businesses should be exempt from the testing and record keeping. We have achieved this because Food Solutions is the only member of UEAPME and so has direct access to the Commission. All these businesses have to do is be aware of the risks and so take reasonable precautions.

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