F.D.A. seeks comments on acrylamide

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration published a notice in the Aug. 26 Federal Register requesting comments, scientific data and information on acrylamide in food.

The F.D.A. said it is considering issuing guidance on the reduction of acrylamide levels in food products. Acrylamide is a chemical that may form in some foods during certain types of high-temperature cooking. It has been found to be carcinogenic in rodents, and it may be a carcinogen for humans.

According to the F.D.A., the following 10 foods contribute the most acrylamide to the U.S. diet:

• french fries (restaurant prepared)

• french fries (oven baked)

• potato chips

• breakfast cereals

• cookies

• brewed coffee

• toast

• pies and cakes

• crackers

• soft (non-toasted) bread.

The F.D.A. currently has information on its web site showing ways consumers may reduce acrylamide exposure from food, but the administration’s general advice for acrylamide is for consumers to adopt a healthy eating plan consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In requesting comments on acrylamide, the F.D.A. said in the Federal Register notice that it expects new information to become available soon about the toxicology of acrylamide and is aware of efforts by manufacturers in the United States who are seeking ways to reduce acrylamide in their products. With that information in hand, the F.D.A. said it may be better suited to issue guidance on acrylamide for the food industry.

To help establish its possible guidance, the F.D.A. provided more than 20 questions in the Federal Register notice it is hoping to answer, including "What changes in ingredients have proved effective and feasible in lowering acrylamide levels in your products?" and "What acrylamide levels have you observed before and after applying mitigation practices?"

The deadline for commenting on the issue is Nov. 24. Electronic comments and scientific data and information may be submitted through www.regulations.gov.

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