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November 28th, 2018

Will the European Commission maximize acrylamide levels in food?

What is acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a substance that gets formed when food containing reducing sugar (like potatoes, cookies and bread) are processed at high temperatures. It's said to be a potential health risk. Learn more>

In a September meeting of the European Commission (section Novel Foods and Toxicological Safety of the Food Chain), discussions have been started on setting maximum levels of acrylamide necessary to ensure a high level of human health protection. These are complementary to the existing measures on mitigation of acrylamide (Commission Regulation (EU) 2158/2017). As a first step, maximum levels for acrylamide in processed cereal-based foods for infants and young children and baby food will be considered. 

With this new initiative of the European Commission, acrylamide levels in food are in the spotlight again. While legislative steps are considered to maximize levels of acrylamide in infant food, it is also very important to listen to the consumer voice in this debate, as they are a very important stakeholder in this dialogue.

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Consumers are surprisingly unaware of acrylamide and its potential effects

We asked consumers how concerned they are about acrylamide in their foods and what they believe the next steps are that should be taken. We found that consumers are surprisingly unaware of acrylamide and its potential effects, but this is changing rapidly. From the 2,000 consumers we surveyed, only 22% had even heard of acrylamide. However, consumers from Germany are much more aware of the topic - 54% of Germany consumers had heard from acrylamide and its potential effects.

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Those that understand the topic are concerned

Of the consumers who understand the topic, 70% were concerned by its potential effects. And, more than half (58%) expressed concern for their children’s health, since children are believed to be more prone to its damaging effects than adults because of their comparatively low body weight. 

DSM Solution

DSM’s PreventASe® helps reduce acrylamide levels in foods by up to 95% without impacting taste, appearance or texture.

Consumers are looking to the food industry to solve the acrylamide issue

Nearly, half of those we surveyed (47%) believe that food producers bear the greatest responsibility for reducing acrylamide in food.

Based on our consumer research it seems very valid that the EU is discussing the potential effect of acrylamide levels for the younger consumer audience. Parents seem quite concerned about the health effects of this substance related to their children. While there are many solutions to reduce acrylamide in foods, DSM has developed effective enzyme solutions that work very well in a broad spectrum of baked goods, including infant nutrition applications. 

PreventAse®: the answer to acrylamide challenges

PreventAse® and PreventAse® XR are two asparaginases which prevent acrylamide formation in foods to cover the broadest spectrum of applications. Want to know how? Contact our technical team to discuss your acrylamide challenge here.