EU Tackles Acrylamide
The European Commission plans to roll out proposed nonbinding legislation on acrylamide levels in food for EU member states’ consideration.
Acrylamide is a chemical that forms during high-temperature cooking of certain foods, e.g., in the preparation of French fries, toasting of bread, or roasting of coffee. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) officially recognized acrylamide as a potential carcinogen in 2005. Since then, industry efforts have been ongoing to reduce acrylamide levels in the food supply. Most recently, on June 4, 2015, EFSA issued an opinion warning of increased cancer risk from acrylamide for all age groups.
The European Commission intends to put forth a draft regulation to EU member states in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) this November. Under the draft regulation, companies would be asked to respect voluntarily “indicative values” for acrylamide in food. Critics note that in many cases the indicative values are higher than the levels of acrylamide already discovered in food during tests conducted by national authorities and industry.
Given the increased spotlight on acrylamide in both the EU and the U.S., we can be certain that regulatory authorities in both jurisdictions will continue to monitor acrylamide levels in food to determine whether further regulation is needed.