Europe and Australia/New Zealand buy into misguided acrylamide scare

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1136161_59851659Hasn t the European Union s European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ever heard the (very) old adage that the dose makes the poison? From what they say in their latest report on acrylamide, it does not appear so. Basing their decision to post a warning solely on animal studies, they warn that dietary acrylamide is a carcinogenic hazard to humans.

And toeing the line with its European counterparts, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says: While there s no direct evidence that acrylamide can cause cancer in humans, there is evidence it can cause cancer in laboratory animals. Yes, it can but at doses much greater than those seen in typical human dietary exposures.

Acrylamide is a chemical compound produced when starchy foods are cooked at high temperature think toasted bread, potato chips, crackers, even sweet potatoes, coffee and black olives!. But as we have explained, while high industrial exposures can cause neurological damage in workers, they do not develop cancer.

Just as we ve seen with many other chemicals found in human diets, scare-mongers can use their simple presence to infer a dangerous threat to consumers and especially children, of course and trumpet their alarms to eager media and vulnerable parents to garner attention and donors. Many such chemicals that can cause cancer in animals are present in such low doses in human diets that they can hardly be considered a realistic threat to people. For more information on why these omnipresent compounds are no threat, see ACSH s classic Holiday Dinner Menu , as well as our major publication on the subject of acrylamide itself which remains scientifically undisputed.