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Acrylamide: New legislation to help reduce levels

Acrylamide blog image

 

Are you aware that new EU acrylamide legislation is being introduced next year?  From April 2018, food businesses throughout the UK must implement practical measures to manage acrylamide within their food safety management systems.

Acrylamide is considered a carcinogen by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It can form at high temperatures during the cooking process and is potentially harmful to humans, increasing the risk of cancer. Foods with high starch levels such as potato and cereal are particularly affected during frying, roasting and baking.

Acrylamide is a food safety hazard and food businesses must therefore try to ensure that levels remain as low as possible.

Guidelines and support

To help catering and foodservice companies to understand, administer and comply with the new legislation, guidelines are being developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Food Standards Scotland and the British Hospitality Association, together with other key stakeholders. These guidelines will be available in the New Year.

Food Alert Ltd will also offer support and advice to its clients, with information included in HACCP documentation and by providing testing facilities.

Reducing acrylamide levels

The key implication is that acrylamide must be reduced in foods, such as French fries and deep-fried potato products, crisps, crackers, bread, breakfast cereals (excluding porridge), coffee, fine bakery wares, and baby food.

To comply with legislation, food business operators must:

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

Peter Christopher-Ohrt, Managing Director Technical Services, Food Alert Ltd, concludes: “The legislation will mainly affect larger businesses who will have to review and monitor acrylamide levels through sampling programmes and act accordingly.

After the FSA has released its guidelines in the New Year, we will be able to offer definitive advice and support to our clients regarding the new acrylamide legislation.”

“In the meantime, we will be preparing to incorporate acrylamide into our food safety management system and hold breakfast briefing meetings to be run shortly after the guidance has been issued. We have already put testing facilities in place.”

“For an indication of what might be in the FSA guidance, the European tool box guidance can be reviewed*. This recommends for instance that the acrylamide levels in chips can be lowered by using a lower sugar content potato and the avoidance of thick cut chips.”

“We look forward to working closely with our clients to ensure that they are compliant with the new acrylamide legislation.”

“We will update you again on acrylamide, once the guidelines around future legislation have been confirmed in the New Year.”

For further information and expert advice on ways of reducing acrylamide in cooked food, then please contact us at enquiries@foodalert.com.

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