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Food Safety Focus (128th Issue, March 2017) – Food Incident Highlight

Ways to Reduce Acrylamide in Home-cooking

The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom has launched a campaign to "Go for Gold", helping people understand how to minimise exposure to a possible cancer causing agent, acrylamide, when cooking at home. Acrylamide is a chemical formed when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. The Centre for Food Safety has conducted several studies on acrylamide and found that acrylamide in food was a public health concern. Efforts should be made to reduce this substance in our diet.

As a rule of thumb, acrylamide can be reduced by not cooking food at a too high temperature for too long. Consumers should aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potato, taro and bread. Furthermore, storing potatoes in fridge is not advisable as it can increase acrylamide formation during subsequent cooking. While it is impractical for consumers to completely avoid acrylamide in food, eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce cancer risks.