Member States back EC plan to reduce acrylamide in food

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The European Commission’s plan to reduce acrylamide in food has been given a major endorsement after Member States voted in favour of the proposal.

Once implemented, the new regulation will require that food business operators apply mandatory measures to reduce the presence of acrylamide, proportionate to the size and nature of their establishment.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: ”The new regulation will not only help to reduce the presence of this carcinogenic substance but also will help raise awareness on how to avoid the exposure to it that oftentimes comes from home-cooking.”

The text will now be sent to the Council and the European Parliament. The two institutions will have three months to examine it before final adoption by the Commission. The entry into force could be foreseen spring 2018.

The Commission is also planning to initiate discussions on additional measures, such as setting maximum levels of acrylamide in certain foods without delay once this Regulation is adopted.

Acrylamide is a carcinogenic substance that forms from naturally present free asparagine (amino acid) and sugars during high temperature processing – such as frying, roasting and baking, particularly in potato-based products, cereal-based products and coffee.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed in 2015 that acrylamide is a carcinogenic substance and that current levels of dietary exposure to acrylamide indicate a concern with respect to the carcinogenic effects.

Following EFSA’s opinion, the Commission started discussions with Member States’ authorities to determine appropriate regulatory measures to reduce the presence of acrylamide in food.