March 2, 2010
GHENT, BelgiumResearchers at Ghent University have developed a technique to reduce acrylamide in french fries during the frying process on an industrial scale. Acrylamide is a product that may cause cancer and was discovered in various foods.
Researchers tested two strategies to reduce acrylamide in french fries. The first considers the raw material selection of potatoes upon arrival at the factory. The relationship between the sugar content of potato tuber, the formation of acrylamide and the color of the baked product was evaluated. Results revealed that it is possible to identify potato batches susceptible for acrylamide formation before these enter production. This gives the potato processing industry the possibility to refuse the batch for French fries production or to adjust their process parameters to lower the risk of acrylamide formation. The potato processing industry currently succeeds in lowering the risk of acrylamide formation in their final products.
Potatoes also were subjected to various pre-treatments during production on industrial scale of pre-frozen french fries in order to find measures to further reduce acrylamide formation upon final frying of the product. The pre-treatments tested were food acids, salts and the enzyme asparaginase. Although these components significantly reduced acrylamide during laboratory experiments, their application on industrial scale did not result in further acrylamide reductions in pre-frozen french fries. On the other hand, tests performed on chilled French fries (not par-fried) pre-treated with the enzyme asparaginase detected no acrylamide on French fries after final frying. Furthermore, the taste and shelf life of the product were not impacted.
Since acrylamide is formed during the final frying and is related to the color of the fries, it is important that the consumer or caterer follow the baking/frying instructions provided on the product package. A more prolonged frying and/or too high frying temperature will result in a darker colored product with higher acrylamide values. Golden-yellow fries are healthier than darker-colored ones.
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