ACRYLAMIDE: NEW GUIDELINES FROM EFSA
With the 217/2158 regulation of the 20th November 2017, the European Union established new, stricter, measures for the reduction of acrylamide in foods.
Starting from April 2018, food companies producing and commercializing food products with acrylamide need to prove that actions for the reduction of such substance during production and in the final product have been taken.
Acrylamide is a chemical substance which modifies starch food during cooking phases at high temperatures (120-150°C). Such chemical reaction, known as the “Maillard reaction”, takes place when sugars and amino acids (asparagine) originally and naturally present in starch food are cooked. These combine together and generate new substances with new flavours and aromas. Moreover, this provokes a darkening of the food and generates acrylamide formations.
Amino acids + sugar + water = flavour+color+acrylamide
This substance is mainly contained in the following food:
- Fried potatoes
- Cereals for breakfast
- Biscuits for the early childhood
On the 4th of June 2015, EFSA published its first complete evaluation regarding the risks of acrylamide in foods. Experts from EFSA, from the scientific group studying contaminants in the food chain (CONTAM), have reiterated and confirmed their previous evaluations concerning the increase in the risk of developing cancer, for the consumers at all age groups, when assuming foods with acrylamide.
HOW TO REDUCE ACRYLAMIDE
The national authorities of the European Union offer suggestions to the consumers by targeting their eating habits and gastronomic traditions. In addition, also a careful selection of the raw matter and of the cooking modalities can contribute to a limited acrylamide formation. Between the various suggestions, it is included the utilization of natural antioxidants which, due to their intrinsic characteristics, inhibit acrylamide formations.