The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is launching a
campaign to ‘Go for Gold’, helping people understand
how to minimise exposure to a possible carcinogen
called acrylamide when cooking at home.
Acrylamide is a chemical
that is created when many foods, particularly
starchy foods like potatoes and bread, are cooked
for long periods at high temperatures, such as when
baking, frying, grilling, toasting and roasting. The
scientific consensus is that acrylamide has the
potential to cause cancer in humans.
The major sources of
dietary exposure include potatoes (particularly
fried potatoes) and cereals (such as breakfast
cereals and sweet biscuits). There have been efforts
to reduce concentrations of acrylamide in food over
recent years, but the evidence so far is not
sufficient to demonstrate whether there has been a
decrease in dietary exposure.
concentrations of acrylamide were measured in the
snacks (360 µg/kg), potatoes (181 µg/kg) and
miscellaneous cereals (65 µg/kg) food groups. The
lowest concentrations at or below the limit of
detection (LoD) were reported in the tap water and
bottled water groups.
The FSA has teamed up
with Olympic gold medallist and mother of four,
Denise Lewis, to empower people to make small
changes to how they cook, to help minimise
acrylamide consumption in the home:
Go for Gold – as a general rule of thumb, aim
for a golden yellow colour or lighter when
frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy
foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread.
Check the pack – follow the cooking instructions
carefully when frying or oven-heating packaged
food products such as chips, roast potatoes and
parsnips. The on-pack instructions are designed
to cook the product correctly. This ensures that
you aren’t cooking starchy foods for too long or
at temperatures which are too high.
Eat a varied and balanced diet – while we can’t
completely avoid risks like acrylamide in food,
eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes
basing meals on starchy carbohydrates and
getting your 5 A Day will help reduce your risk
Don't keep raw potatoes in the fridge - if you
intend to roast or fry them. Storing raw
potatoes in the fridge can increase overall
acrylamide levels. Raw potatoes should ideally
be stored in a dark, cool place at temperatures
Commenting on her involvement with the 'Go for Gold'
campaign, Denise Lewis said: ‘As a mum, the
wellbeing of my family is my top priority,
particularly when it comes to the meals I cook for
them at home. With so many factors to consider, it's
great that the FSA is helping people to understand
the changes we can make to reduce acrylamide in the
food we eat regularly at home’.
FSA is launching the ‘Go for Gold’ campaign
following findings from its Total Diet Study,
published today. The results confirm that people in
the UK currently consume higher levels of the
chemical than is desirable.
Wearne, Director of Policy at the Food Standards
Agency, commented: ‘Our research indicates that the
majority of people are not aware that acrylamide
exists, or that they might be able to reduce their
personal intake. We want our 'Go for Gold' campaign
to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to
make the small changes that may reduce their
acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of
starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended
in government healthy eating advice.
Food Standards Agency
Acrylamide in the home: the effects of home-cooking
on acrylamide generation
diet study of inorganic contaminants, acrylamide &