Crisps contain high levels of carcinogen

Almost a third of potato crisp products contain the carcinogen acrylamide at levels that exceed EU recommendations, new research has found.

A study by Changing Markets found that 16 out of 92 products from major UK snack brands and own brand supermarket crisps exceeded the recommended EU benchmark of 1000 µg/kg. A further 15 samples were above the lower EU benchmark (750 µg/kg) that will likely become part of new EU regulation.

Tyrells was the worst offender with its sweet potato lightly sea salted crisps containing more than 2.5 times the maximum recommended limit of acrylamide.

Own label crisps performed poorly in comparison to brands with products from the likes of Morrisons and Aldi containing some of the highest concentrations of acrylamide.

The presence of acrylamide in food is considered a public health concern by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as it increases the risk of developing cancer.

A recent study from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) concluded that people in the UK currently consume higher levels of acrylamide than is desirable and identified fried potatoes as a major contributor to acrylamide exposure.

Changing Markets said the results showed that industry self-regulation was not working and called for the immediate introduction of legally binding limits on acrylamide.

A legislative proposal on acrylamide in food is currently being discussed by the European Commission and Member States and a vote is expected in June.

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