Acrylamide is a carcinogen that can be found in in certain cooked foods mainly made from plants, such as potato products, grain products, or coffee. Acrylamide is not deliberately added to foods, it is a natural by-product of the cooking process and has always been present in our food.
Acrylamide is formed when certain starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures (above about 250° F) such as frying, roasting, and baking. Cooking at high temperatures causes a chemical reaction between naturally occurring sugars (reducing sugars) and an amino acid (asparagine) in the food, which forms acrylamide. The major food sources of acrylamide are French fries and potato chips; crackers, bread, and cookies; breakfast cereals; canned black olives; prune juice; and coffee.
Laboratory tests show that acrylamide in the diet causes cancer in animals. While evidence from human studies on the impact of acrylamide in the diet is inconclusive, scientists agree that acrylamide in food has the potential to cause cancer in humans as well and it would be prudent to reduce exposure. Acrylamide has been labeled as both carcinogenic and toxic to reproduction by the OEHHA since 2010.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently developing guidance for industry on reduction of acrylamide levels in food products. FDA also regulates the amount of acrylamide in a variety of materials that come in contact with food. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates acrylamide levels in drinking water.
The question of whether certain foods should be tested for Acrylamide has been answered in part by the updates to OEHHA regulation. By August 30th, 2018, Proposition 65 now requires warning statements on products with Acrylamide for at least one chemical for both cancer and/or reproductive toxicity. This is why major companies, like Starbucks, are beginning to label their products as risk factors.
To protect your company against possible problems meeting new Acrylamide regulations, take a proactive step and get your products tested.
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