WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has issued final guidance to the food industry on ways to reduce acrylamide levels. A chemical, acrylamide may form during high-temperature cooking such as frying, roasting and baking. The National Toxicology Program characterizes acrylamide as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
Within food and beverages, acrylamide is found primarily in potato-based foods, cereal-based foods and coffee.
Ways to reduce acrylamide in french fries include cutting fries in shapes with lower surface areas and changing blanching practices. In potato chips, increasing peel removal may help to reduce acrylamide as might washing or soaking potato chips before frying, cutting thinner potato chips, and decreasing frying temperatures to 175 degrees Celsius (347 degrees Fahrenheit) or below.
Cereal-based foods include bread, crackers and breakfast cereal that are cooked from cereal crops such as wheat and corn. Replacing ammonium bicarbonate in cookies and crackers with alternative leavening agents, while avoiding overall increases in sodium levels, may help reduce acrylamide. Replacing sugars with non-reducing sugars, using reducing sugars with lower fructose content and only adding sugar coatings to breakfast cereal after toasting steps also may help.
Limited information is available on factors known to affect acrylamide concentrations in coffee, according to the F.D.A. Robusta beans have somewhat higher acrylamide levels than arabica beans. Dark roast coffee has less acrylamide than light roast coffee. Acrylamide levels in roasted coffee decline during long-term storage. Also, different preparation methods, for example espresso versus filter-brewed, result in different levels of acrylamide in coffee as consumed.For more on the F.D.A.’s final guidance on acrylamide, visitlink.