Lancet on ACSH and Acrylamide

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We're pleased to see the esteemed British journal The Lancet noting the American Council on Science and Health in the conclusion of its February 1 article on the tumultuous debate over acrylamide in food. The Lancet emphasizes the unknown but at least recognizes that there's no evidence of harm:

...Indeed translation of all the acrylamide data into sensible public-health advice is proving very difficult. In early December, 2002, the American Council on Science and Health issued a position paper presented as "No credible evidence that acrylamide in foods poses human cancer risk." New Zealand food safety experts, using a "no observable adverse effect level" for acrylamide of 0.1 mg/kg bodyweight, also estimate that people eating fried potato and crisps are at a very low risk of cancer from this source. European Union experts, on the other hand, state that the risk from exposure to acrylamide cannot be determined. Similarly, the FDA, with its very public current debate on acrylamide, emphasizes what we still do not know.


February 13, 2003

We do not have enough evidence of any harmful effects of acrylamide on human health. However, the question should not be dismissed, as it has been by certain individuals. Certain nutritionists took a similar position on trans fats until it could not be ignored any longer. There are still some skeptics on the trans fat issue [in fact, see the passage in our new report on Beef about the sometimes exaggerated fear of trans fats Ed.].

As a scientist and engineer, I feel that we have more to learn about acrylamide and its impact on our health, but we should not try to dismiss it because we do not have enough evidence to do that either.

Monoj K. Gupta