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Food Safety Focus (170th Issue, September 2020) – Food Incident Highlight

Acrylamide in Snacks

A local organisation has recently released a report on detection of acrylamide in certain fried snacks.

Potentially causing cancers in experimental animals, acrylamide is formed during cooking of carbohydrate-rich food in the presence of the amino acid asparagine and reducing sugars at over 120°C. The Total Diet Study conducted earlier by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) revealed that the overall acrylamide intake among local adults was lower than that of many western diets. Locally, while stir-fried vegetables were the main contributor to dietary intake of acrylamide, snack foods ranked sixth among other food groups.

All along the CFS encourages the food trade to follow the CFS guideline to reduce acrylamide in food. The public should maintain a balanced and varied diet and avoid over-indulgence in deep-fried foods. When choosing to deep-fry, aim for a golden colour and avoid cooking for too long at too high a temperature. Blanching leafy vegetables before stir-frying or cooking them by boiling or steaming can also reduce formation of acrylamide.