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Institute of Food Science & Technology gives acrylamide update
07/12/2017 - 07:00
The Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) has updated its information statement on acrylamide in foods following new legislation announced by the EU regarding the chemical last month.

As of April 2018, food businesses in the UK will be required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems.

Acrylamide forms naturally during high temperature cooking and processing, such as frying, roasting and baking, and particularly in potato-based products and cereal-based products.

It is not clear whether consumption of it affects people's risk of developing cancer but it has been a concern in the industry since an outbreak in Sweden in 2002.

The IFST has added a chapter on the new EU ruling to its website following the announcement.

The organisation says that the new law requires food business operators to carry out their own testing programmes, and to challenge their own processes and mitigation strategies if concentrations exceed listed benchmark levels.

It says these benchmark levels are purely based upon the 85th centile of reported distribution of acrylamide in each category of product; they are not safety limits or compliance limits.

“There is a legal requirement for food manufacturers to have an acrylamide mitigation policy, and to make this – along with their test results and any consequential mitigation actions – available to enforcement authorities on request,” says the IFST.

The statement goes into current recommendations and reviews in place in other countries such as the US, Germany and Norway.

It concludes: “Progress is being made in the reduction of the acrylamide content of some products. No single method of reduction works universally. Reduction still must be addressed on a case-by-case or category-by-category basis.

“It is unlikely that it will be possible to reduce the acrylamide content in many foods without changes in the food (colour, flavour, texture) and consumer acceptability. Food safety concerns must also be considered, as also any potentially involving diet-nutrition-health consequences."

The new statement can be read in full here along with the IFST’s six other chapters on acrylamide.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and British Hospitality Association (BHA) are working on guidance to help the catering and foodservice sectors comply with the new laws.