April 19, 2013
LONDONThe Food Standards Agency (FSA) released interim results from its fifth and latest study examining levels of acrylamide, furan and the process contaminants in a range of retail foods produced in the United Kingdom. It found the acrylamide and furan levels reported do not increase concern about the risk to human health and FSA has not changed its advice to consumers.
The interim report is part of a rolling program in response to European Commission recommendations to investigate the levels of acrylamide and furan in retail food. Of the 300 products sampled between November 2011 and December 2012, 294 were analyzed for acrylamide and 113 analyzed for furan.
The survey results will be sent to European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) for collation, trend analysis and, in the case of furan, a risk assessment. Results of the current 2012-2013 survey will be published in 2014. Where possible, it will include statistical trending analyses of all the UK survey data on acrylamide and furan levels collected by FSA since 2007.
Acrylamide is a chemical compound that typically forms in starchy food products during high-temperature cooking, including frying, baking and roasting. A 2005 EFSA statement noted there may be a potential health concern with acrylamide which is known to be carcinogenic and genotoxic. Following a recommendation by the European Commission in 2007, member states are requested to perform yearly monitoring of acrylamide levels and submit the data to EFSA for assessment and compilation in an annual report.
A 2011 EFSA report indicated voluntary industry measures to reduce acrylamide levels in foods have had limited success. The findings revealed lower acrylamide levels in only three of the 22 food groups that were sampled.
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