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Acrylamide Mitigation Strategies: EuCheMS position and proposal

Acrylamide (ACR) in food is a safety concern (EFSA Journal 2015;13(6):4104 [321 pp.] The Maillard Reaction (MR) is the main pathway for ACR formation: important factors are the presence of its precursors in raw materials (free asparagine and reducing sugar such as glucose and fructose) and the magnitude of the heat load applied during food production (time - temperature combination). The results of ACR concentrations in food coming from EFSA monitoring in 2007-2009 showed mean values of 257-265 μg/kg in home cooked potato products, 219-233 μg/kg in crispbread and 128-140 μg/kg in biscuits. This data together with other minor sources led to a calculated exposure of 1 μg/kg BW per day that created serious concerns, particularly for children.

Mitigation strategies and FCD EuCheMS Position
Over the past 10 years several strategies to reduce ACR concentration in processed food were developed. ACR is formed through the same MR pathway, which contributes to the desired color, flavor, and texture attributes of the final product. Most of the proposed mitigation strategies bring about changes in organoleptic properties of food and dramatically affect the final quality of the product and consequently the consumer’s acceptance. The use of asparaginase enzyme, salts and additives as well as the change of time-temperature parameters can dramatically reduce ACR in some foods, as reported in many paper published in literature. Moreover, despite the large availability of methods useful to reduce ACR in foods, in some case (and in some foods) the levels of ACR recovered in 2016 are very similar to those recovered in 2009-2012. Moreover, beside the “high risk” ACR foods (like potato chips or French fries) some foods were poorly investigated in the past (e.g. cocoa and derived products; roasted nuts) and the research could be directed on this in the next future.
EuCheMS supports all the EU Actions finalized to disseminate official rules-guidelines correlated to the mitigation of ACR in foods, particularly for potato-derived foods and foods for children’s. Some specific technical data are reported in the Annex 1, Annex 2, and Annex 3 attached to this Document.

About the authors
EuCheMS, the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences, coordinates the work of 47 Chemical Societies and other chemistry related organisations, representing more than 160,000 chemists. Through the promotion of chemistry and by providing expert and scientific advice, EuCheMS aims to take part in solving today´s major societal challenges.
This feedback was prepared by: Marco Arlorio (Chair of the Division of Food Chemistry, EuCheMS, Food Chemist), in collaboration with Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano (Food quality and design, WUR, Wageningen, The Netherlands), internationally recognized as expert on Maillard Reaction’s and Acrylamide chemistry in foods.

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