FSA maintains safety guidance on acrylamide and furan

UK – UK’s Food Standards Agency has announced that following investigations on amount of acrylamide and furan present in a range of retail foods, the levels do not increase risk to human health.

The agency said as a result, it does not change its advice to consumers on acrylamide and furan.

FSA carried a survey and tests on samples from 271 products collected between January 2017 and December 2017, whose results indicated no cause of alarm on acrylamide and furan levels.

These products included French fries, bread, cereals, biscuits, coffee, baby food, popcorn, cakes, pastries and chocolate collected across the UK.


Of the 271 products sampled, 269 were analysed for acrylamide and 120 analysed for furan.

According to FSA, the results would be send to European Food Standards Agency for collation, trend analysis and risk assessment for furan.

The study was part of an on-going programme in response to European Commission’s recommendations to all member states to investigate the levels of acrylamide and furan in food.

New legislation

New EU acrylamide legislation came into force in April this year, limiting the amount of acrylamide allowed in packaged foods, and it also forces manufacturers to closely examine and reduce acrylamide levels in products.

It describes practical measures based on best practice guidance developed by the food industry to mitigate acrylamide formation in a range of foods.

New regulations aim at achieving the lowest levels of acrylamide, below benchmark levels that is, 40μg/kg in baby foods to 4,000μg/kg in chicory, 300μg/kg in breakfast cereals (50% lower for maize, oat, spelt, barley and rice-based products).

The levels are 350 micrograms (μg) of acrylamide per kilogram for biscuits and cookies to 750μg per kilogram for potato crisps and 850μg per kilogram for instant soluble coffee.


Acrylamide toxicity

Acrylamide level in food has been subjected to debate and discussion due to suspected toxicity of the substance.

The Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2015, confirmed that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.

Both substances are also linked to cancer risks, which will then increase with regular exposure to higher levels, over a lifetime.

EFSA further concluded that current levels of dietary exposure to acrylamide, furan and its methyl analogs such as 2-methyl furan and 3-methyl furan indicate a potential human health concern.

Manufacturers are now considering solutions for the concerns based on innovations.

Frutarom, through its Frutarom Food Protection Solutions developed a high-antioxidant solution that reduces acrylamides in heat-processed foods, decreases oxidation and extends shelf-life.

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