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Food group-specific standards for the reduction of acrylamide levels need to be prepared 2019-10-30

Food group-specific standards for the reduction of acrylamide levels need to be prepared

- Low-temperature cooking for short time periods is recommended -

 

 

  

    Acrylamide which naturally forms during high-temperature cooking is usually detected in food products, including fried potatoes, confectionery, coffee, etc. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) under the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies acrylamide as a ‘Group 2A probable carcinogen,’ and concerns continue over the risk of injury to humans through the ingestion of the chemical substance contained in food.

 

    Accordingly, the Korea Consumer Agency (President Lee Hee-sook) monitored acrylamide levels in 50 widely-consumed food products* that may form acrylamide, and found that the acrylamide levels found in all the 50 products were less than the maximum allowable level specified in the domestic standard, but some food products contained levels of the chemical substance exceeding the standards specific to individual food groups established by the EU, requiring continuous monitoring of acrylamide levels contained in foods and the establishment of acrylamide standards specific to individual food groups.

* 10 fried potato products, 15 confectionery products (5 potato snacks, 5 general snacks, 5 baby snacks), 5 bakery products, 10 coffee products)

 

 

The EU has prepared and enforced food group-specific standards for acrylamide levels.

 

    The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has set the standard limit for levels of acrylamide contained in foods at a maximum of 1,000㎍/㎏, and let food businesses comply with the standard limit voluntarily. On the other hand, the EU has implemented its regulation to reduce the presence of acrylamide in food (Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158) since April 11, 2018.

 

    The EU regulation on acrylamide levels includes methods to select, store and cook raw materials by food so that food businesses can reduce the presence of acrylamide in food, and sets food group-specific standards for acrylamide levels at 40 ~ 850㎍/㎏* (about 20 food groups, including fried potatoes, cereals, etc.).

* In the case of chicory, which is a popular caffeine-free substitute for coffee, the standard for acrylamide level is 4,000㎍/㎏.

 

 

Most products were found to contain acrylamide which does not exceed the level allowed in the domestic and EU standards.

 

    All 50 products monitored contained acrylamide at levels ranging from 0㎍/㎏ (not detected) to 510㎍/㎏ less than the domestic standard level (1,000㎍/㎏), and 48 products did not exceed the level allowed in the EU standard. With regard to the average level of acrylamide by food group, potato snacks (5 products) had the highest level of acrylamide at 296㎍/㎏, followed by fried potatoes (10 products, 228㎍/㎏), and cereals (5 products, 102㎍/㎏).

[ Acrylamide content and standard by product group ] (unit : ㎍/㎏)

Product Group

Fried Potatoes

Confectionery*

Cereal

Bakery

Coffee

Acrylamide Content

10~510

(228 on average)

10~360

 (143 on average)

50~250

(102 on average)

0 (not detected)~20 (6 on average)

0 (not detected)~40 (17 on average )

EU Standard**

500

150~750

150

50

400

Domestic Standard

1,000

* With regard to the average level of acrylamide contained in confectionery, potato snacks contained the highest level of acrylamide (296㎍/㎏), followed by general snacks (98㎍/㎏), and baby snacks (34㎍/㎏). ** Food group-specific EU standards applied to the products monitored

 

 

    However, one fried potato product (510㎍/㎏) and one cereal product (250㎍/㎏) were found to exceed the EU’s food group-specific standards (fried potatoes: 500㎍/㎏, cereal: 150㎍/㎏).

In particular, children tend to be exposed to two times more acrylamide than adults per kilogram of body weight, and they can be easily exposed to the chemical substance through consumption of a wide variety of foods, including fried potatoes, cereals, confectionery, etc.

 

    Therefore, it is necessary to prepare food group-specific standards which reflect consumption age and frequency, and product characteristics in order to ensure consumer safety by reducing the level of acrylamide frequently detected in food products that are consumed widely or in large quantities, and enhance the export competitiveness of domestic corporations by seeking harmonization with international standards.

 

 

When cooking at home, low-temperature cooking for short time periods is recommended.

 

    In order to reduce exposure to acrylamide at home, potatoes should not be refrigerated for storage, and steaming or boiling is preferable to baking or frying. In addition, it is advisable to keep potatoes, bread and cereals from turning brown when they are baked or fried, and not to heat them at a 160℃ frying temperature or at a 200℃ or lower oven temperature for long hours.

 

    Based on the monitoring results, the KCA recommended businesses whose products were found to contain higher acrylamide levels than the EU standard cap ▲to voluntarily recall the products in question and improve their manufacturing processes for the reduction of acrylamide levels, and the businesses accepted the recommendations. It also plans to request the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety ▲to consider preparing food group-specific standards for acrylamide levels.

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