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Food Contaminants - Acrylamide

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 are currently being collected by EFSA. EFSA has published reports with the results of the first two years of monitoring (2007 report, 2008 report).

On 10 January 2011 the Commission adopted a Recommendation on investigations into the levels of acrylamide in food BG CS DA DE EL ES ET FI FR HU IT LT LV MT NL PL PT RO SK SL SV PDF. 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.

The food industry (FDE), in close co-operation with the national authorities and the European Commission, has developed a "toolbox"PDF [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 22 Union languages.

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