FDA Issues Guidance to Industry on Reducing Acrylamide in Foods
Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson
Scientists were surprised in 2002 to find high levels of acrylamide, a known carcinogen, occurring naturally in many common foods, particularly French fries, bread, breakfast cereals, and other foods cooked at high temperatures. CSPI confirmed those findings with its own tests later that year, and then in 2003 petitioned the Food and Drug Administrationto limit acrylamide in food.
The FDA should have set binding requirements, including specific limits on the amount of acrylamide allowed in industrially produced food, but the final guidance issued today is a welcome step, and companies should follow it. And those companies that have been working hard over the past decade to minimize acrylamide deserve credit. FDA should monitor acrylamide levels to assess compliance, and establish hard limits and requirements for shifts in processing if levels have not been reduced by the guidance.
Consumers who want to minimize their exposure to acrylamide can do what the FDA recommends and eat a diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consumers should also avoid foods like heavily toasted or burnt bread or over-cooked French fries, which have been shown to be among the foods most contaminated with acrylamide.