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Food Standards Agency publishes acrylamide and furan survey results of Foods in the United Kingdom

Food Standards Agency (FSA)
September 7, 2014
The FSA (Food Standards Agency) has published the results from its latest study looking at levels of the process contaminants acrylamide and furan in a wide range of UK retail foods.

This study is part of an on-going programme, in response to European Commission recommendations to investigate the levels of acrylamide and furan in food.

Based on samples taken from 556 products collected between November 2011 and December 2013, the survey gives a snapshot of the range of acrylamide and furan levels in UK retail foods. Of the 556 products sampled, 544 were analysed for acrylamide and 266 analysed for furan.

Process Contaminants

Process contaminants are chemical substances that are produced naturally in food during manufacturing or home-cooking. They are absent in the raw foods or raw materials used to make the food, and are only formed when components within the raw foods or raw materials undergo chemical changes during processing.

Acrylamide is formed when foods containing the natural amino acid asparagine and sugars are heated at temperatures above 120°C. It is less likely to occur in foods processed by boiling.

Furan is formed in food during roasting, frying and canning as a result of the thermal degradation of sugars, oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids or decomposition of ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
The levels of acrylamide and furan reported do not increase concern about the risk to human health and the Agency has not changed its advice to consumers.

As with previous years, the survey results for acrylamide and furan will be sent to EFSA for collation, trend analysis and, in the case of furan, a risk assessment.

PotatoPro found the following noteworthy values in this research:

Vegetable crisps (2012, n=4, mean=1979; 2013, n=4, mean=957)
Popped Snacks (2012, n=2, mean=2324; 2013, n=2, mean=1871)
Baked potato (2012, n=1, mean=882; 2013, n=1, mean=377)

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