DECO finds dangerously high doses of acrylamide in staple foods

in News · 07-03-2019 10:10:00 · 0 Comments
DECO finds dangerously high doses of acrylamide in staple foods

Consumer rights watchdog DECO has said it found dangerously high doses of Acrylamide – a chemical used primarily to make substances called polyacrylamide and acrylamide copolymers – in a number of popular foods on sale in Portugal.

Most of the foods tested by DECO were below the recommended levels for the potentially carcinogenic substance.
But some Maria biscuits and crisps exceed the recommended maximum values.

Following the entry into force of the European Commission regulation on good practices in the food sector in April 2018, DECO decided to test, along with counterparts from nine countries - France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Slovenia, Denmark, Italy and Spain - more than 500 products available on the market.

The aim was to evaluate the acrylamide – a chemical that forms in certain types of food during its preparation at elevated temperatures – content in foods that are on the list of consumers’ daily consumption.

According to DECO, the categories analysed in Portugal were potato crisps, sweet potato crisps, ground roast coffee, dry toast breads and Maria-type biscuits.

“Of the 60 products tested in Portugal, only two of the 15 samples of potato chips analysed - Spar and Bouton d’Or (Intermarché) - showed levels of acrylamide above the reference values.

“Sondey (Lidl), Moaçor, Pingo Doce and Continente also had higher levels” DECO revealed.

None of the coffee or toasted bread samples had higher levels of acrylamide than those recommended by European regulations.
However, due to external factors, DECO found the results varied with repeated tests.

“The new batch of Spar chips analysed was below the reference values, the Bouton d’Or revealed to be close to the limits, the same happened with the Sondey biscuits (Lidl)”, the association warned.

Maria biscuits from Continente also had levels above the desirable, and the brand has reportedly admitted to DECO that it will change the recipe in order to decrease sugar content and the emergence of acrylamide.

Four of 12 brands of Maria biscuits evaluated were also above the reference values.

In 2002, Swedish researchers found that acrylamide was formed in some foods rich in starch and asparagine (an amino acid) with low humidity when subjected to high temperatures.

Since then, the scientific community has tested thousands of products and found that acrylamide mainly comes in fried foods, baked goods and subjected to high temperatures, such as potato chips, breakfast cereals, bread and toast.

The process takes place during the so-called Maillard reaction, responsible for the golden colour and flavour characteristic of these foods. This substance does not form, however, when food is cooked in water or steam.

Since 2007, European Union Member States have monitored the levels of acrylamide in food. Based on the data compiled by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), indicative values were established for food businesses. However, in order to reduce the presence of acrylamide in products, the European Union published, in November 2017, a regulation with measures based on good industry practice.


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