Acrylamide evaluations in EU and USA – FDA Final Guidance on reduction in certain foods

On 4 June 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its first full risk assessment of acrylamide in food. Experts from EFSA’s Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) reconfirmed previous evaluations that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers in all age groups.

Evidence from animal studies shows that acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide are genotoxic and carcinogenic: they damage DNA and cause cancer. Evidence from human studies that dietary exposure to acrylamide causes cancer is currently limited and inconclusive. To know more about the situation in EU click here or download EFSA’s infographic.

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued final guidance to the food industry to help growers, manufacturers and food service operators take steps to reduce levels of acrylamide in certain foods.

Acrylamide is a chemical that may form in certain foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting and baking. The National Toxicology Program (an interagency program that evaluates possible health risks associated with exposure to certain chemicals) characterizes the substance as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” And efforts to reduce acrylamide levels are already underway in many sectors of the food industry.

To help mitigate potential human health risks, the FDA’s guidance recommends that companies be aware of the levels of acrylamide in the foods they produce and consider adopting approaches, if feasible, that reduce acrylamide in their products. The guidance also offers a range of steps that growers, manufacturers, and food service operators may take to help reduce acrylamide levels.

For instance, for french fries, the recommended maximum cooking temperature for frying is 345-350 ºF/approximately 170-175 ºC (Refs. 30, 43). Providing appropriate cooking instructions on frozen french fry packages may help reduce acrylamide formation safely during final preparation by consumers and food service operators. Examples of such instructions (which may not be applicable to all products) are:

• Cook to a light golden color. Avoid browning fries.

• Avoid overcooking or undercooking.

• Avoid cooking in a toaster oven to prevent overcooking.

• Reduce cooking time when cooking small amounts.

Through this guidance and various research activities, the FDA is helping companies reduce acrylamide and reduce any potential risks to human health. The focus of this non-binding guidance is on raw materials, processing practices, and ingredients pertaining to potato-based foods (such as french fries and potato chips), cereal-based foods (such as cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals and toasted bread), and coffee, all sources of acrylamide exposure.

Because acrylamide is found primarily in potato-based foods, cereal-based foods, and coffee, the FDA’s best advice for consumers to help limit acrylamide intake is to adopt a healthy eating plan, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that:

• Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
• Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
• Limits saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Additional advice to consumers pertaining to acrylamide, including recommended food storage and preparation methods, is available on FDA website.

See also: Acrylamide – Nothing seems to help on, by Stefan Fabiansson.

Food recalls in EU – Week 25 – 2014

This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have four recalls from consumers in EU in the alert notifications:

– Pesticide residues: dimethoate in green beans, following an official control on the market. Origin Morocco, notified by Luxembourg, distributed also to Germany and France;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in raw milk soft cheese, following an official control on the market. Origin France, notified by Germany;

Food additives and flavorings: undeclared sulphite in pickled lime, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand (via Netherlands), notified by Denmark;

–  Food additives and flavorings: undeclared sulphite in water chestnuts in brine, following an official control on the market. Origin Thailand (via Netherlands), notified by Denmark.

Between the information for attention and the information for follow-up notification, followed by a recall from consumers:

– Food additives and flavorings: too high content of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF in soft drinks, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), notified by Ireland;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Listeria Monocytogenes in milkshakes produced from sterilised milk preparation, following company’s own check. Origin France/Belgium, notified by France;

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:

– Allergens: too high content of gluten in corn meal, following an official control on the market. Origin Poland, notified by Poland, distributed also to Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and United Kingdom;

– Allergens: undeclared milk ingredient in flapjack cake, following a consumer complaint. Origin United Kingdom, notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Germany, Ireland, Slovakia and Malta;

– Allergens; undeclared sesame and nuts in cookies, following an official control on the market. Origin Lebanon (via Germany), notified by Denmark;

– Heavy metals: high content of lead in green lentils, following an official control on the market. Origin Czech Republic, notified by Slovakia;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in pistachio nuts, following an official control on the market. Origin United States (via Germany), notified by Netherlands;

– Mycotoxins: aflatoxins in pistachio nuts, following an official control on the market. Origin Iran (via Germany), notified by Netherlands;

Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Spp. in ground ginger, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Bacillus cereus in ginger powder, following an official control on the market. Origin India (via United Kingdom), notified by France, distributed also to Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in vacuum packed beef, following an official control on the market. Origin Netherlands, notified by Italy;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella Coein in black pepper, following an official control on the market. Origin Belgium/Netherlands, notified by Netherlands, distributed also to France;

– Pesticide residues: carbendazim in pears, following a border control. Origin Argentina, notified by Greece, distributed also to Bulgaria;

Residues of veterinary medicinal products: residue level above MRL for oxytetracycline in pork meat, following an official control on the market. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Africa and United Kingdom.

Amongst border rejections we have Norovirus in frozen clams from Vietnam, residue level above MRL for oxytetracycline in frozen shrimps from Vietnam, too high content of vitamins in food supplements from the United States, unauthorised substances malachite green and leucomalachite green in frozen red tail tin foil barb from Vietnam, parasitic infestation with Anisakis of anchovies from Morocco, absence of health certificate(s) for rice cooking wine and sauces from China, Salmonella Hadar in frozen turkey meat and meat preparation (boneless & skinless) from Brazil, Salmonella spp. in frozen chicken meat and meat preparation from Brazil, Salmonella Brunei and Salmonella Westhampton in desiccated coconut from Indonesia, Salmonella Kentucky in hulled sesame seeds from India, aflatoxins in pistachio nuts from Syria, via Turkey, and from United States and in pistachio nuts in shell from Iran, prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) furazolidone (AOZ) in frozen domestic rabbits and frozen rabbit meat from China, shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in frozen lamb meat from New Zealand, unauthorised substance dichlorvos in oluyin beans, peeled beans and dried beans from Nigeria, attempt to illegally import dried beans from Nigeria ,suspicion of attempt to illegally import watermelon seeds from Nigeria, formetanate in fresh peppers from Turkey, carbendazim in fresh green beans from Kenya, in waxberry from China and in fresh peppers from Turkey, clofentezine in fresh peppers from Turkey, acetamiprid and endosulfan in aubergines from the Dominican Republic, chlorpyriphos and hexaconazole in chilled green beans from Kenya, unauthorised substance morpholine in lemons from Argentina and unauthorised genetically modified (35S promotor detected) fresh papaya from Thailand.

For feed, we have a border rejection for Salmonella paratyphi b in fish meal from Peru.

For food contact materials we have an alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market for:

Migration of primary aromatic amines from nylon spoons, following an official control on the market. Origin China (via United Kingdom), notified by Poland.

Border rejections for migration of manganese from cast iron grills, migration of chromium, of nickel and of manganese from stainless steel kitchen utensils and volatile organic compounds in wooden sticks for skewers and cocktail decorations from China.

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