The Brussels head-quartered association has published information pamphlets in 23 different languages, detailing how manufacturers can reduce acrylamide formation in breads, cereals, biscuits, crackers and crisps.
Acrylamide is a substance naturally produced in foods as a result of high-temperature cooking (above 120°C) from a reaction between asparagine and reducing sugars. It is known to cause cancer in animals and some experts believe it could cause cancer in humans, thus recommendations to reduce levels in foods have been made by global experts.
FDE initially published its information leaflets on acrylamide reduction in 2007 but has since worked closely with the European Commission and national regulatory authorities to produce updated versions.
The information is extremely important to SMEs as across Europe, the FDE said, as such businesses “do not have the resources to access the latest findings in research.”
“The pamphlets help to meet SMEs’ needs by allowing small operators to tap into the latest research findings and tools on how to reduce acrylamide formation in their products and adapt their own production systems to help mitigate the effects of it as much as possible,” the trade body detailed.
Reducing to reasonable levels
Jesús Serafin Pérez, president of FDE, said the body has a “key role to play in supporting members to help reduce acrylamide in manufacturing.”
FDE has a dedicated expert group, formed in 2003, working on pooling science and research on the substance and disseminate information on how best to reduce it during food production, Pérez said.
The group developed an ‘Acrylamide Toolbox’, he said; “a resource that provides operators with the latest findings and best practice needed to reduce acrylamide in foods,” that is included in the pamphlets.
The revised pamphlets also include information on a concept food manufacturers are expected to adhere to during production – ‘As Low As Reasonably Achievable’ (ALARA) – where food manufacturers are expected to reduce the presence of acrylamide to a minimum. However, there are currently no legal control measures for acrylamide in foods in the EU and US.
Martin Turton, Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery sector group (BCCC - a division of the FDF) manager, previously told this publication that industry would not welcome legal limits as the "need for regulation is not there" because industry is concerned at looking at the toolbox.
However, in 2011 the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) reported that the toolbox had shown limited success in lowering acrylamide levels in foods.
The revised information leaflets will play an important part in driving industry acrylamide reduction, the FDE said, as they should increase knowledge and capabilities among SMEs.