Act" cuts toxins in french fries and heat-processed foods
of Article: http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=42163
Since 2002, when it was first discovered that acrylamide is found in
several processed and fried foods, food safety organizations throughout the
world have been studying methods to reduce its presence in those
foods. Acrylamide, when heated, produces carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide
and oxides of nitrogen.* Acrylamide has several positive applications
industrially, but it is a food toxin.
Of course, potato chips and french fries are at the top of the acrylamide
list; they're always at the top of unhealthy food lists, aren't they?
You know the rich ’brown’ color they get when they're texture gets
crisp? That's acrylamide. And when you brown your toast? That's
Acrylamide results from a heat-induced reaction between a sugar
(carbohydrate) and asparagine,an amino acid, found in asparagus, potatoes
, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, and whole grains. Boiling does not seem
to induce acrylamide formation, but frying, baking, and broiling do
initiate the process.
Purac, a Netherlands-based global corporation, which makes lactic
and lactic acid derivatives, gluconates and lactides and lactic-acid based
biomaterials, used in commercial food preparation, pharmacology and other
industries, has developed a high calcium product called Puracal Act, which
is claimed to interfere with the chemical process of acrylamide
formation. It also minimizes the brown coloring during frying, but
still maintains the firmness and crispy nature of fried and processed
foods, like snacks and cereals.
Inge Evers, a senior application technologist at Purac, said: “Puracal Act
allows more flexibility in the production process because it does not
require extra time or special temperatures to be effective. Typical
variations in pH or moisture content in the snack process will not affect
the performance of Puracal Act in acrylamide reduction.”
Puracal Act sounds very promising for process foods. It's not just
french fries and potato chips that have been found to be high in
acrylamide. It's found in packaged breakfast cereals, candy bars,
certain baby foods, roasted coffee beans.... black olives are super high in
acrylamide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been testing
products for the last several years; you can access its acrylamide food
lists for the years 2003 to 2006 here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) created an official report on the
extent of acrylamide in processed foods in a study of food oxidation as a
heat reaction. The report, called HEATOX, can be accessed here.
The following are (slightly edited) recommendations from the WHO to each
country's food authorities:
* Use low sugar potato varieties
* Maintain suitable storage temperature during the
* Use low sugar levels in prefabricated potato products
for domestic frying
* Frying temperature in the range 145 to 170°C for
deep frying potatoes
* Clear and accurate cooking instructions on the
package of pre-fried products
* Clear and accurate instructions for fryers for
* Fry golden, not brown!
* French fries and roast potatoes cooked to a
golden-yellow rather than golden-brown
* Bread toasted to the lightest color acceptable
* Consumption : "Balance the diet as proposed in
national dietary recommendations and integrate acrylamide considerations
into the “normal” dietary recommendations.
Until the food industry has incorporated some of the new toxin-reducers
into its processing, it's probably best to stay away from the high
acrylamide foods and, again, keep track of them on the food lists at the