SAFE has launched a Communication Campaign about Acrylamide

SAFE initiated a campaign about acrylamide, a chemical compound that is produced when food is cooked at high temperatures, and is encouraged immediate measures to reduce its presence in food.

Acrylamide is a chemical compound that forms during high-temperature cooking processes and is naturally present in many common food items. Industrial and commercial cooking methods, as well as home cooking, can lead to the formation of acrylamide.

This compound is created through a heat-induced chemical reaction, known as the Maillard Reaction, which occurs at temperatures above 120°C and low humidity. The level of acrylamide in a food product is determined by how it is cooked, its ingredients, and storage conditions. It is important to note that acrylamide is primarily found in fried foods.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released its initial comprehensive risk evaluation on acrylamide in food in June 2015. The experts at EFSA have verified that the presence of acrylamide in food can increase the chances of developing cancer for individuals of all age groups, thus considering it a matter of public health concern.

After considering the typical composition of diets and body weight data, it has been determined that children are the most unsafe age group when it comes to exposure to acrylamide.

SAFE is intensifying its try to enhance public knowledge about acrylamide and advocating for the implementation of stringent thresholds for its presence in food. A position paper has been released by SAFE, emphasizing significant apprehensions regarding the levels of acrylamide in food.

The EFSA has verified links between genotoxicity and dietary acrylamide, as well as connections to certain cancers in recent research. Despite this, many consumers remain unaware of the issue.

To address this issue, a communication campaign is being launched to inform consumers about the dangers of acrylamide. The campaign will not only help people recognize acrylamide but also provide useful tips on safe food preparation and cooking at home.

Campaign about Acrylamide, SAFE

It will be carried out on social media, featuring educational videos created in partnership with the nutritional safety association in the kitchen and its founder, nutritionist Chiara Manzi. This association focuses on merging nutritional research with culinary expertise to encourage healthier eating habits among consumers.

In its increased efforts to raise consumer awareness about acrylamide, it is encouraging European policymakers to take decisive measures to safeguard public health. The existing benchmark levels established by the European Commission have proven insufficient in adequately protecting the health of consumers.

It advocates for the implementation of legally binding maximum levels for all food categories that pose a risk of acrylamide exposure, with particular emphasis on protecting children. These food categories encompass potato crisps, breakfast products, and French fries.

Furthermore, there is a push for strict regulations on acrylamide levels in baby foods, with a suggested maximum level much lower than the proposed 50 µg/kg. Studies have shown that levels as low as 1kg are feasible. It is highlighted that higher levels could impede efforts to reduce acrylamide content.

For biscuits targeted towards children, it is recommended to set a maximum level significantly below the current benchmark of 150kg. Additionally, there is a suggestion to lower the benchmark level for breakfast cereals consumed by children under three and to implement stricter regulations to safeguard this vulnerable group.


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