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Reducing acrylamide levels From July 2010 newsletter

Reducing acrylamide levels in food

We have been helping companies who are looking at ways to reduce the levels of acrylamide in their products. Acrylamide, believed to be a human carcinogen, is formed in high–carbohydrate products that are subject to high temperatures; examples include crisp bread and bread crust, and potato crisps and chips. Choosing starting ingredients that have reduced levels of sugars and certain amino acids, and modifying the processing of the product may help to reduce the levels of acrylamide formed.

As well as helping companies to understand how different processing regimes and changes to the starting materials can affect acrylamide formation, we also carry out analysis of acrylamide, so that companies can see which of their products are most susceptible, and which strategies are having the most beneficial effect. We have developed a reliable and costeffective analytical method for acrylamide, which uses a combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (LC–MS).

A news release issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 18 May 2010 suggested that acrylamide levels found in various food products in 2008 were generally lower than those found in 2007, but that in some products – such as such as potato crisps, instant coffee and substitute coffee – they were higher.The report was based on over 3,400 results provided by 22 EU Member States and Norway. This is the second in a series of three EFSA reports (covering 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively) which will help the European Commission and Member States to determine whether or not voluntary measures taken by the food industry to reduce acrylamide levels have been successful. Subsequently, there has been a European Commission Recommendation that all 27 EU countries provide acrylamide analytical data to the Commission on an annual basis for a range of products.

Analysis contact: Nick Byrd
+44(0)1386 842187

Processing contact: Charles Speirs
+44(0)1386 842284