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HomeHealthSAFE’s campaign calls for action on limiting acrylamide levels in food

SAFE’s campaign calls for action on limiting acrylamide levels in food

19 Jun 2024 — Brussels-based consumer organization SAFE is advocating for stricter maximum acrylamide levels in food products to diminish health hazards.

The organization launched a new campaign focusing on raising awareness of acrylamide — a potentially carcinogenic substance released when cooking food at high temperatures — along with the publication of a position paper advocating for stricter rules on the presence of the substance in food.

SAFE — an acronym for Safe Food Advocacy Europe — is the a Brussels-based European consumer organization specializing solely in the food sector.

It is strengthening efforts to raise awareness of acrylamide and advocating for the establishment of strict limits on its presence in food.

Urging protection for human health
SAFE is urging European policymakers to take decisive action to protect public health.

The current benchmark levels set by the European Commission have proven ineffective in adequately protecting consumers’ health, claims the organization. SAFE calls for legally binding maximum levels for all food categories where acrylamide poses a risk for the population and especially for children.

These categories include popular foods such as potato crisps, breakfast cereals and French fries.


Children and baby food in the spotlight
SAFE is also advocating for strict acrylamide level regulations in baby foods, suggesting a maximum level well below the value of 50 μg/kg, as studies indicate levels as low as 1 μg/kg are easily achievable.

The organization says that higher levels could hinder efforts to minimize acrylamide content. For biscuits marketed to children, SAFE urges for a maximum level significantly lower than the current benchmark of 150 μg/kg.

It also recommends reducing the benchmark level for breakfast cereals consumed by children under three and calls for stricter regulations to protect this vulnerable group.

Additionally, SAFE proposes the inclusion of new food categories like roasted nuts and vegetable chips in acrylamide regulation due to the high levels detected in these food categories in numerous studies, which underscore the need for regulatory change.

Savory snacks in bowls.SAFE has issued a position paper highlighting critical concerns regarding acrylamide levels in food.An ongoing ambition
Tests conducted by SAFE and its members across Europe highlighted the urgent need for new regulations to limit acrylamide in various foods as early as 2017. In 2023, CVUA Stuttgart found high acrylamide levels — reaching up to 3500 μg/kg in vegetable chips — in various foods categories, such as French fries, wheat-based bread, crispbread, instant coffee, gingerbread, crackers, cornflakes and breakfast cereals.

Acrylamide, a chemical compound formed during cooking processes, poses significant health risks to consumers, particularly infants and young children.

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) confirmed findings related to genotoxicity, and recent studies have also made further associations between dietary acrylamide and certain cancers. However, consumers are often not aware of the issue.

SAFE believes its campaign aimed at consumers will raise awareness of the risks associated with acrylamide. Besides educating the public on how to recognize acrylamide, the campaign will provide tips on how to prepare and cook food at home safely.

Earlier this year, Kerry Group’s subsidiary, c-LEcta, examined the coffee industry’s challenges of dealing with acrylamide. The Germany-based biotech firm formulates enzyme products based on the proprietary enzyme technology platform ENESYZ and recently developed Acrylerase, a food enzyme to reduce acrylamide in instant coffee and ready-to-drink coffee beverages.

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