Acrylamide in Some Popular Foods

Introduction

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) and the Consumer Council (CC) have analysed the acrylamide level in various foods which were previously found containing relatively high levels of acrylamide and/or popular in the local market. The dietary exposure to acrylamide in the local population has also been estimated.

The study

2. A total of 90 food samples were purchased from the local market, including 35 crispy snacks, 10 fried and baked potatoes, 39 biscuits and 6 breakfast cereals. They were subject to laboratory analysis for acrylamide level conducted by the Food Research Laboratory of the CFS.

3. Main findings of the study are summarised in Table 1:

Table 1: Summary of Main Results

Food products No. of samples Ranges of Acrylamide level (μg/kg)
Crispy snacks
Potato chips 12 160 – 3000
Taro chips 3 11 – 470
Prawn crackers 6 Not detected* – 330
Snack noodles 2 35 – 120
Corn chips 6 16 – 480
Rice crackers 3 6 – 39
Banana chips 3 74 – 190
Fried and baked potatoes
French fries and waffle fries 7 74 – 890
Baked potatoes 3 15 – 160
Biscuits
Cheese crackers 2 150 – 360
Digestive biscuits 3 170 – 250
Cookies 6 42 – 250
Soda crackers 5 39 – 200
Chocolate biscuits 2 47 – 150
Wafers 5 53 – 280
Sandwich crackers 4 61 – 510
Wheat crackers 5 87 – 390
Finger biscuits 5 32 – 370
Other snack type biscuits 2 130 – 2100
Breakfast cereals
Corn flakes 3 29 – 70
Bran cereals 3 59 – 460

* Not detected denotes acrylamide concentration is less than the limit of detection, 3μg/kg

4. Among the 35 crispy snack samples, in each 1 kg of food:

5. Among the 10 fried and baked potato samples, in each 1 kg of food:

6. Among the 39 biscuit samples, in each 1 kg of food:

7. Among the 6 breakfast cereal samples, in each 1 kg of food:

8. It is estimated that the dietary exposure to acrylamide in the average local population and high consumers (97.5th percentile) is 0.13μg/kg bw/day and 0.69μg/kg bw/day respectively. The corresponding MOE (Harderian gland tumours in mice) is calculated to be 1385 and 261 respectively. Since these MOEs are relatively lower than those of the other harmful substances formed during food processing, it is of public health concern. Efforts to reduce acrylamide levels in food should continue in the territory. Details of the exposure assessment are available at the CFS webpage:
http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/programme_rafs_fc_01_25.html.

9. In order to provide recommendations to trade to prevent and reduce the formation of acrylamide in food, the CFS has drafted a set of Trade Guidelines on Reducing Acrylamide in Food. After consulting with the trade, the Guidelines will be distributed and uploaded to the CFS website for trade reference

A gland located behind the eyes; can be found in mice but not in humans

Advice to the Public

Advice to the Trade

More Information

10. The related article is published in the CHOICE MAGAZINE (Issue 410 released on 15 December 2010) (Chinese only).

11. Please visit the CFS website for more information on acrylamide –

Risk Assessment Section
Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
December 2010