EFSA aims to complete full risk assessment opinion on acrylamide in mid-2014

Acrylamide is a chemical compound that typically forms in starchy food products during high-temperature cooking, including frying, baking and roasting. It forms from sugars and an amino acid that are naturally present in food. Acrylamide has been found in products such as potato crisps, French fries, bread, biscuits and coffee. It was first detected in foods in April 2002, although it is likely that people have always been exposed to it in their diet.

An EFSA statement in 2005 noted that there may be a potential health concern with acrylamide which is considered to be both carcinogenic and genotoxic in test animals: previous risk assessments on acrylamide carried out by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) concluded with the same concerns.

In September 2012, EFSA received a proposal from organisations belonging to four EU Member States (Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden) to consider new scientific findings on the possible carcinogenicity of acrylamide. Subsequently, EFSA accepted a request from the European Commission to provide a scientific opinion on the potential risks for human health of acrylamide in food.

Following a recommendation from the European Commission in 2007, Member States are monitoring acrylamide levels in food.

In April 2013, EFSA launched a call to food business operators and other stakeholders to submit additional analytical data on acrylamide levels in foods and beverages collected from 2010 onwards. The Authority has also consulted consumer organisations, NGOs and the food industry through its Stakeholder Consultative Platform to find out about ongoing and recent research related to acrylamide.

Considering all these data, and the hundreds of scientific studies submitted, EFSA is planning to release a full and updated risk assessment opinion on acrylamide in mid-2014.

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