Acrylamide in Food

Acrylamide has long been seen as a risk factor in some foods. It develops as a natural by-product in food whereby a chemical reaction occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars. Acrylamide in food happens when foods with high starch content such as bread, potatoes and root vegetables are fried, roasted or baked at a temperature of over 120°C.

Acrylamide in Food UK & European Food Safety Legislation

Under European food safety legislation from 11th April 2018* all businesses that manufacture, prepare and serve food to customers will be required to put into place practical steps to manage acrylamide in their food management systems. Acrylamide in food cannot be fully eliminated, but can be reduced and this is the aim of the new legislation.

The legislation requires businesses to:
– be aware of the potential risk of acrylamide
– take steps to reduce acrylamide in food
– undertake sampling and record results

*Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 of November 2017

Cooking Oil and Acrylamide in Food

Acrylamide is not found naturally in unused cooking oil, but if starchy food like potatoes are fried in oil and that oil is reused, it can build up to dangerous levels. It is not really a concern for domestic use but for the Fish and Chip shop industry, oil that is used daily beyond its working life can see a build up of acrylamide which may cause harm to customers.

Food Safety Advice – How to minimise risk when cooking food

1) Oil management
Do not overload frying pans as this increases frying times. Fry one part food to 10 parts Frymax as per the Frymax Good Frying Guide. Any food particles left in the fryer may potentially have high levels of acrylamide – it is therefore very important you regularly skim your oil to remove these. Daily filtration of the oil in the fryer will remove any fine particles with potentially high levels of acrylamide leftover after frying.
One of the best ways to ensure that your cooking oil is safe to use is to invest in a food oil monitor - Frymax recommends an Ebro. Ebro’s are handheld portable instruments that are extremely easy to use which quickly measure Total Polar Compounds (TPC) levels, making businesses safer as well as more efficient by preventing oil wastage. It is recommended that oil should be replaced when it reaches 25% TPC. There isn’t a direct correlation between acrylamide and TPC levels but it’s widely acknowledged that oils with high TPC levels contain higher levels of acrylamide.
2) Frying food
Store potatoes at above 6°C Ideally use potatoes with a minimum content of reducing sugars and always wash in water to remove excess starch / sugar Adhere to colour guide when frying: Light Golden: yes Golden Yellow: yes Golden Brown: no Aim for a light golden finish to your fried product
1) Oil management
Do not overload frying pans as this increases frying times. Fry one part food to 10 parts Frymax as per the Frymax Good Frying Guide. Any food particles left in the fryer may potentially have high levels of acrylamide – it is therefore very important you regularly skim your oil to remove these. Daily filtration of the oil in the fryer will remove any fine particles with potentially high levels of acrylamide leftover after frying.
One of the best ways to ensure that your cooking oil is safe to use is to invest in a food oil monitor - Frymax recommends an Ebro. Ebro’s are handheld portable instruments that are extremely easy to use which quickly measure Total Polar Compounds (TPC) levels, making businesses safer as well as more efficient by preventing oil wastage. It is recommended that oil should be replaced when it reaches 25% TPC. There isn’t a direct correlation between acrylamide and TPC levels but it’s widely acknowledged that oils with high TPC levels contain higher levels of acrylamide.
2) Frying food
Store potatoes at above 6°C Ideally use potatoes with a minimum content of reducing sugars and always wash in water to remove excess starch / sugar Adhere to colour guide when frying: Light Golden: yes Golden Yellow: yes Golden Brown: no Aim for a light golden finish to your fried product

Summary of food safety advice for the Fish and Chip Trade

1) Abide by the new standards
2) Cook food at recommended temperatures
3) Cook food to a maximum light golden colour (see colour recommendations above)
4) Check the levels of TPC in your oil and discard at 25%
5) Keep records of the above

Establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels of the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32017R2158&rid=1

For further information sign into the members area visit the Technical Area and contact Stuart McConnell.