Acrylamide is a chemical which has been shown to be present in food as a result of cooking practices, some of which have been used for many years, even centuries. Therefore finding ways to reduce the levels is not straight-forward. In particular, starchy foods have been shown to be affected, such as potato and cereal products which have been deep-fried, roasted or baked at high temperatures.
On 3 May 2007 the Commission adopted a Recommendation on the monitoring of acrylamide levels in food. This recommendation has been extended by Commission Recommendation 2010/307/EU of 2 June 2010. Acrylamide data have been collected and compiled by EFSA. EFSA has published reports with the results of the monitoring (2007 report, 2008 report, 2007-2009 report, 2007-2010 report).
On 10 January 2011 the Commission adopted a Recommendation on investigations into the levels of acrylamide in food
. Member States are recommended to carry out investigations in cases where the levels of acrylamide in a foodstuff, tested in the monitoring exercise, exceeds certain acrylamide indicative values. The Member States are recommended to report the results back to the Commission who will assess the situation by December 2012.
This assessment has given evidence that further risk management measures are needed to further reduce the presence of acrylamide in food. To support the discussions on the appropriate risk management measures, EFSA has been requested by the Commission to provide a comprehensive risk assessment on acrylamide in food. The EFSA risk assessment is expected to become available by June 2015 at the latest.
It was decided to continue in the meantime to continue the exercise of investigations on reasons of levels of acrylamide higher than indicative levels, but more targeted and with a review of the indicative levels. The Commission adopted on 8 November 2013 Commission Recommendation 2013/647/EU on investigations into levels of acrylamide in food.
The Commission has organised on 13 and 14 January 2014 a workshop on acrylamide at which every sector was asked to present in detail how the FDE-toolbox is implemented in practice in the production process and consumer organisations were asked to present their initiatives to make consumers aware of the importance of good cooking practices to keep acrylamide levels in home prepared foods as low as possible. A detailed report of the workshop is available at http://ec.europa.eu/food/committees/regulatory/scfcah/toxic/docs/sum_20140220_en.pdf
The food industry (FDE), in close co-operation with the national authorities and the European Commission, has developed a "toolbox" [Updated 10-01-2014] to highlight ways to lower levels of acrylamide in food. Short extracts of the toolbox have been developed in form of sector specific brochures. These brochures are designed to help food business operators to implement those items of the "toolbox" that are relevant for their sector. These brochures are available in 23 Union languages and Norwegian.