Managing acrylamide in food – a new regulation

James McConville

James McConville
Senior Consultant, Assurity Consulting
2nd March 2018

Acrylamide is described as a probable carcinogen which is created when food containing starch is cooked at high temperatures such as roasting, toasting, frying, grilling and baking at or above 120°C. The foods that are most likely to be affected are root vegetables, potatoes, breakfast cereal, coffee and breads.

Food experts are concerned that levels of acrylamide in some foods are too high and steps need to be taken to reduce them to lower the risks of cancer. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is looking at ways of reducing acrylamide in food and increasing the awareness of consumers on this matter. In the near future there will be guidance to help achieve this.  This guidance will then need to be adopted in to your food safety management systems.

So far the Food Standards Agency is recommending that food is cooked to golden and not allowed to burn. Burnt food leads to the build up of acrylamide.  The FSA are also recommending that you follow all cooking instructions, vary your diet and avoid storing potatoes in the fridge. Storing potatoes in the fridge leads to cold sweating, allowing the build-up of chemicals needed for the creation of acrylamide when this food is cooked. 

Until the guidance is published food businesses should take on board these recommendations and prepare for some changes in how they are going to work with these foods in their kitchens. The Environmental Health Officers will be checking that measures have been put in place to comply with the new regulations and if food businesses can’t demonstrate that they are managing acrylamide properly it may affect the food hygiene rating of your business.

For more information on the support Assurity Consulting can provide with your food safety management, please click here