FDA still exploring acrylamide

FDA has released exploratory data on acrylamide levels found in various foods which indicates a wide variety of acrylamide levels in the foods tested. Acrylamide is a known animal carcinogen at high dose levels, but it’s not known whether acrylamide causes cancer in humans or animals at the very low levels found in foods. The agency said some foods have very little or no acrylamide present, while test results from other foods continue to confirm the presence of the substance.

FDA also released new data showing a correlation between acrylamide levels and the length of time the food is cooked and the temperature at which the food is cooked. However, the agency said it’s premature to draw conclusions about particular foods and particular products.

“These sample results cannot and should not be generalized or used to reach conclusions about acrylamide levels in particular brands of foods. These samples are also not statistically representative of specific foods or brands,” FDA said in a statement. The data will be reviewed by members of the agency’s Food Advisory Committee.

Draft directive on RTE meat and poultry

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a draft directive on microbial sampling, clarifying existing inspection procedures in facilities producing ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products. The procedures include instructions for FSIS sampling and verification steps to ensure that HACCP plans and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) effectively control the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat products.

Dr. Rhona Applebaum, executive vice president of the National Food Processors Association called the draft improvement over earlier FDA proposals “because of its emphasis on ready-to-eat products with the greatest potential to impact public health.”