FSA News Item, 25 July 2002
A survey by the Food Standards Agency has concluded that it is very unlikely that paper and board packaging is a source of acrylamide, a chemical with the potential to cause cancer, in food.
The survey is part of the Agency's regular surveillance work on chemical contamination
of food from packaging materials. However, the publication comes in the wake
of separate research that discovered that acrylamide is present in a range of
foods as a result of some cooking processes, such as baking and frying.
Scientists looked at a variety of paper and board that comes into contact with food, including tea bags, kitchen towels, baking cases and microwave cartons. They found acrylamide at very low levels in 12 out of the 140 samples they tested. This acrylamide is likely to have come from the food, rather than the packaging, in some of these cases.
Even if the acrylamide had originated in the packaging in all cases, and all of this migrated from the packaging to the food, it would still have only contaminated the food at very low levels, mostly too tiny to be measured.
The Agency is continuing to work with stakeholders and international organisations to find out more about how acrylamide gets into food.