Acrylamide may be added to Canada’s toxic substance list
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Legislation/Acrylamide-may-be-added-to-Canada-s-toxic-substance-list
By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 26-Feb-2009
Health Canada has recommended that acrylamide – a possible carcinogen found in French fries
and potato chips – be included on the nation’s list of toxic substances.
chemical is produced when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures, and
is caused by a reaction, known as the Maillard
effect, between sugar and an amino acid called asparagine.
It is this process which creates the brown color
and tasty flavor of baked, fried and toasted foods.
was first called into question in 2002, when scientists at the Swedish Food
Association found unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide – which had been found to cause cancer in
laboratory rats – in carbohydrate-rich foods.
a recommendation has been made on the grounds that current consumption levels
“may constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.” It was published in the
Canada Gazette on February 21.
recommendation did acknowledge, however, that research into a possible
carcinogenic link for humans has so far been inconclusive.
said: “While the mode of induction of tumors by acrylamide has not been fully elucidated, it can not be
precluded that the tumors observed in experimental
animals have resulted from direct interaction with genetic material.”
decision to recommend acrylamide’s inclusion on the
list is part of the Canadian government’s ongoing review of nearly two
hundred chemical substances in widespread commercial use that have never
before been subjected to thorough risk analysis.
the 2002 Swedish discovery, over 200 research projects have been undertaken
to find out more about the chemical, with their findings coordinated by
national governments, the UN and the EU. Over the past few years, food
manufacturers have been making efforts to remove or reduce the chemical in their
products, despite a number of null results from these studies.
approaches employed so far include converting asparagine,
the precursor to acrylamide formation, into an
impotent form using an enzyme, binding asparagine
to make it inaccessible, adding amino acids, changing the pH to alter the
reaction products, cutting heating temperatures and times, and removing
compounds from recipes that may promote acrylamide
most attention in the past two years for reducing the chemical has focused on
the use of enzymes to convert asparagine into
another amino acid called aspartic acid, thereby preventing the creation of acrylamide. There are two main competitors in this area: Novozymes with its Acrylaway
enzyme, and DSM’s Preventase,
both of which were launched for use by the food industry in 2007.
Canadian government is inviting comments on the recommendation until April