About Hygiene, Ireland

Food Safety Study - Acrylamide in Food

Food Safety StudyBiscuits, Chips and Crisps are bad for you!

We all know that fried food isn’t good idea in the diet. Most might think, “I’m not overweight – so I’ve nothing to worry about”

The FSAI (Food Safety Authority of Ireland), are doing fantastic work on our behalf ensuring our food is safe. With that in mind they have today published the results of the “Total Diet Study” carried out to assess our dietary exposure to a number of chemicals that may pose a risk to health. 

Overall, the results are good, however, concern was raised about exposure to acrylamide (a chemical formed during the frying, roasting or baking of a variety of foods).

What is Acrylamide?

It is a by-product of frying carbohydrates, and that’s how most people are exposed, it also has industrial uses. It’s used for the production of paper, plastics, food packaging, and adhesives. 

What is the connection between Acrylamide and Fried Foods?

In food, acrylamide forms through the Maillard reaction — a chemical reaction between sugars and amino acids -the “Browning of Food” –  e.g. Potatoes fried at 120oC or higher can form acrylamides. Fried foods are the most likely culprit and extending the frying time to achieve a crisper texture increase acrylamide exposure 10 fold.

Is there other food that would contain Acrylamide?

Acrylamide is found in crisps, even coffee as it’s roasted and in baked food such as cereal-based snacks, biscuits and wafers.

 Did you know food Isn’t the Only Source of Exposure!

Some cosmetic products contain acrylamide in the form of polyacrylamide, which breaks down into acrylamide after being absorbed into the skin. 

Smoking Doesn’t Help either!

Research suggests that those who smoke tobacco consistently have the highest levels of acrylamide in their blood. 

Did you know that Infants and Young Children Are Especially at Risk?

Prompted by baby food contamination, a Polish study analysed the effect of acrylamide exposure in infants aged 6-12 months. The infants with the highest levels of acrylamide in their blood had levels a few dozen times higher than normal. The one most startling conclusion was that Chip consumption was responsible for the most significant increases. 

Exactly How Dangerous is Acrylamide Exposure?

Health and environmental authorities, including the EPA, warn that acrylamide is a dangerous toxin can damage the nervous system. A number of studies have also explored its carcinogenic effects (cancerous effects) and its links with lupus, scleroderma, and Sjögren’s syndrome.

  • An animal studies shows that acrylamide can contribute to tumour development in the thyroid, testes, mammary glands, lungs, and brain.
  • Lab studies have confirmed that acrylamide kills brain cells. 
  • A study of 50,651 women in the Norway confirmed a reduction of foetal growth following acrylamide exposure. 
  • Recent research confirms the disastrous relationship between acrylamide levels and insulin levels — not good news for diabetics as increased levels of acrylamide are associated with a decrease in serum insulin, which makes it very difficult to control blood sugar

Be Safe – Stay Healthy – Avoid Acrylamide

What can I do to Reduce Exposure?

Since fried foods are the primary means most are exposed to acrylamide, avoiding fried and starchy foods, especially chips, biscuits and crisps.

Change cooking methods to boiling or steaming your food and the use of certain spices e.g. Turmeric may provide a level of defence against acrylamide. 

A Final Note

Fried and processed food are best avoided for many reasons, not just acrylamide. In their own right, most are devoid of nutrition and little more than a food pellet with too much sugar and starch that lead to many chronic diseases.



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