Food Law News - UK - 2002

FSA Press Release (2002/0233), 27 June 2002

CONTAMINANTS - Food Standards Agency statement on Acrylamide following meeting at World Health Organization in Geneva

The Food Standards Agency welcomed international discussions at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva this week about acrylamide - a potentially cancer causing chemical likely to be formed in a wide range of foods when they are fried or baked.

The purpose of the expert consultation hosted by the WHO was to assess current scientific understanding of acrylamide in food and to determine what further research is needed to develop greater knowledge of the issue and discuss the implications for human health.

Steven Wearne, Head of Chemical Contaminants at the FSA, who was Rapporteur at the meeting said:

'This meeting was an important first step in sharing current knowledge of acrylamide. Due to the limited nature of existing research, the assembled experts were unable to determine how much human exposure to acrylamide is from the food types already tested by scientists and how much could be from other foods not yet tested, as well as sources such as water, cigarettes, and industrial use'.

'The Agency agrees with the expert consultation group that a great deal more scientific work needs to be done before experts can make a proper assessment of the risks of acrylamide and food, and provide more substantial advice to consumers. What is important now is to identify what research is required to help us understand the formation of acrylamide, how it might affect people, and what may need to be done as a result of that work.

'We are not recommending that people change either their diet or cooking methods as a result of initial studies. We are recommending that people should eat a balanced diet and a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.'

The Food Standards Agency welcomes the initiative to create a network of international research bodies, so that leading experts in the field can share expertise and work together to develop an understanding of the presence of acrylamide in food.

To go to main Food Law Index page,
click here.