A new paper has been produced to assist pubs with compliance on new food safety laws relating to acrylamide, which have now come into force.

 

The new European legislation requires all businesses that manufacture food, or prepare and serve it to customers, to understand the potential risk of acrylamide, take steps to reduce it, and be able to prove they have done so.

Acrylamide forms naturally in foods when amino acids and sugars react during the cooking process. It occurs typically in foods with a high starch content, such as potatoes and bread, when they are fried, roasted, or baked. It is also present in coffee forming when the beans are roasted.

The guidance, titled Acrylamide in food: Understanding the law, has been produced by oil brand Prep, and aims to explain the risks associated with the chemical.

In 2002, Swedish studies raised worldwide public concern because tests on laboratory animals suggested acrylamide had the potential to cause cancer in humans. Subsequent assessment by organisations including the World Health Organisation, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and UK scientific advisory committees also suggested acrylamide is a human carcinogen which has the potential to cause cancer by interacting with the genetic material (DNA) in cells.

In 2015, the EFSA published its first full risk assessment of acrylamide in food, which confirmed acrylamide levels found in food potentially increases the risk of cancer for all age groups. This means it might contribute to your lifetime risk of developing cancer.

Olivia Shuttleworth, brand manager for Prep, says businesses need straightforward advice for complying with the new legislation.

She says: "Over the past few months we have had lots of enquiries from our customers, many of whom were worried about the implications of the new legislation.

"Ultimately, this is an opportunity for food businesses to demonstrate their understanding of food safety and its positive impact on quality."

More details about the legislation are available here.