After a comprehensive review, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion on acrylamide in food, reaffirming its belief that consuming the chemical potentially increases the risk of cancer.
“Evidence from animal studies shows that acrylamide and its metabolite glycidamide are genotoxic and carcinogenic: they damage DNA and cause cancer,” says EFSA. “Evidence from human studies that dietary exposure to acrylamide causes cancer is currently limited and inconclusive.”
EFSA first announced this opinion in July of 2014 when it made its draft opinion available to the public.
Acrylamide is a chemical compound that typically forms from sugars and amino acids in starchy food products during high-temperature cooking, including frying, baking and roasting. It was first detected in foods in April 2002, though it’s likely to have always been present. Common sources of acrylamide include coffee, fried potato products, biscuits, crackers and crisp breads, soft bread and certain baby foods. According to EFSA, the main chemical process that causes this is known as the Maillard Reaction; it is the same reaction that ‘browns’ food and affects its taste.
The scientific opinion on acrylamide in food can be read here.