Food safety

Health implications of acrylamide in food. Joint FAO/WHO consultation, Geneva, Switzerland, 25 - 27 June 2002

Health implications of acrylamide in food

ISBN: 02 4 156218 8

Summary

The FAO/WHO Consultation on Health Implications of Acrylamide in Food has undertaken a preliminary evaluation of new and existing data and research on acrylamide. The Consultation provided a range of recommendations for further information and new studies to better understand the risk to human health posed by acrylamide in food. The Consultation also provided some advice to minimize whatever risk exists, including avoiding excessive cooking of food, choosing healthy eating, investigating possibilities for reducing levels of acrylamide in food, and establishing an international network on acrylamide in food. The Consultation reviewed the methods of analysis available to test for acrylamide in foodstuffs and food ingredients, and for acrylamide and its metabolites as haemoglobin adducts in blood. Of the limited range and number of foods analysed to date, acrylamide levels are highest in potato and cereal-based products subjected to heat processing such as frying, grilling or baking. However, only a limited range of food types have been tested to date and these belong to the Western diet. The range of foods investigated needs to be extended to include staple foods from different regions and diets. Considered collectively, data on the absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion of acrylamide suggest that toxicological findings in animals should be assumed to be relevant for extrapolation to humans. The Consultation would encourage transparent and open risk assessment and risk management processes and recognises the importance of involving interested parties (consumer, industry, retail etc.) in this process.

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