In 2015, acrylamide hit the news when the European Food standards Agency highlighted its dangerous effects. As we explained in our previous ‘Hot Topics’ blog in December, acrylamide is a chemical substance formed by a reaction between amino acids and sugars, which may cause cancer in humans. It normally occurs when foods with a high starch content such as potatoes and bakery products are over cooked in processes such as frying, toasting, roasting or baking.

New government legislation was announced on the 11th April 2018 stating that food business operators (FBOs) are required to put in place simple and practical steps to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems. This is to ensure that acrylamide levels are as low as reasonably achievable in their food.

To comply with legislation, FBOs must:

  • Identify potential sources of acrylamide
  • Ensure levels of acrylamide remain as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA)
  • Larger companies must undertake sampling and analysis, and record results and mitigation measures which have been implemented
  • Implement reduction measures in Food Safety Management Systems

Larger companies, whose specific size has yet to be defined, will be expected to have sampling plans in place to verify the levels of acrylamide in their products, with an exemption for companies undertaking retail activities and/or directly supplying only local retail establishments.

Although new legislation has been passed we are still awaiting for final guidance from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). There are a number of areas that still require clarification which include:

  • Specific guidance on what is required to be compliant
  • A comprehensive list of what exact foodstuffs will fall under the legislation – the annex that currently details these is missing other foods that are high in starch and that could be a risk
  • The exact types/size of business that will have to comply with the more arduous parts of the legislation – including food sampling

Although there is some ambiguity, it is clear that FBOs will have to take steps to reduce acrylamide within fried potatoes and bakery products. With this in mind we have created, to help our clients, interim special HACCPs for the preparation of fried potatoes and bakery products. If you would like to access these or require assistance with sampling plans please contact

Further information on Acrylamide reduction can be found at:

BHA – Interim Acrylamide Guidance – click here

FSA – Acrylamide – click here

Food Drink Europe – Reduction in Acrylamide – Crisps – click here

Food Drink Europe – Reduction in Acrylamide – Bread – click here

If you require further information and expert advice on ways of reducing acrylamide in cooked food, then please contact us at




Food Safety


Food Alert