You might want to tell the waiter to hold those french fries to cut down on the amount of acrylamide you re consuming. Well at least according to the FDA. Acrylamide is a chemical that forms in foods containing carbohydrates as a result of cooking at high temperatures. In fact, it is found in about 40 percent of the calories consumed by Americans and has been around for as long as people have been baking, roasting, toasting or frying foods, says the Grocery Manufacturer s Association. Yet, it was only in 2002 that scientists discovered this chemical in food.
The FDA is now claiming that high levels of this chemical can cause cancer in animals (well, rodents specifically) and therefore, according to their policy, this translates into causing cancer in humans as well. The draft guidance specifically states, Acrylamide in food is a concern because it can cause cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.
But actually, acrylamide is a neurotoxin not a carcinogen in high exposure levels among occupationally-exposed workers. Occupationally-exposed workers is synonymous with extremely high dose exposures. It is not harmful in low doses.
Luckily, not everyone is getting behind these ridiculous carcinogen claims. A joint committee of the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concluded that epidemiological studies do not provide any consistent evidence that occupational exposure or dietary exposure to acrylamide is associated with cancer in humans.
ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan had this to say: "As we ve said before, mice are not little men. Rodent studies cannot be used to make conclusions about human carcinogens. If you're trying to avoid any food with a rodent carcinogen in it---Good Luck! The FDA should start addressing some real problems instead of focusing on this nonsense and unnecessarily scaring the US population.