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DSM in Food, Beverages & Dietary Supplements

What is acrylamide? (and how can you reduce it in food?)

What is acrylamide?

Acrylamide is a substance that’s formed when processed foods containing reducing sugars are processed at high temperatures (for example when baking, frying, grilling, toasting or roasting). It forms in both home cooking and commercial-scale manufacturing of food products alike and is the subject of growing health concerns as acrylamide is a suspected carcinogenic substance.

What can the industry do to reduce acrylamide?

In fact, the debate about reducing acrylamide levels is hotting up among consumers, manufacturers - and regulators alike. For example, On April 11 the EU introduced maximum allowable limits for acrylamide in food products. Meanwhile, in the United States this potentially harmful substance is gaining increasing attention from regulators, consumers and the media alike.

Acrylamide formation is a chemical reaction between reducing sugars (like glucose, fructose or lactose) - and free asparagine, a naturally occurring amino acid. To tackle the problem, manufacturers can use different approaches during food processing: for example, strict processing (temperature) control, ingredient replacement, ingredient addition, agronomy - or the use of asparaginase enzymes.  

This special class of enzymes works by converting the free asparagine found in the food into aspartic acid - thus preventing acrylamide from being formed.

Reducing acrylamide in food

At DSM our asparaginase portfolio- called PreventASe® - is proven to reduce acrylamide levels in processed foods by up to 95%  (depending on the application)  - with no effect on the taste, texture or appearance of the food product

It’s another example of how we strive to do the right thing for consumers by providing healthy, safe and attractive food for all.