FDF is committed to working with FoodDrinkEurope, regulatory authorities and
others to reduce exposure to acrylamide from processed food. FDF has
and supports the development of the FoodDrinkEurope Acrylamide ‘Toolbox’ as an
alternative to legislation and continues to promote its use through a variety
events and activities, including a series of webinars.
Acrylamide was first found to be present in food by Swedish scientists in 2002.
It is formed by the reaction of the amino acid asparagine with reducing sugars
(especially glucose and fructose) and is found mainly in carbohydrate-rich
cooked at high temperatures, such as potato and cereal-based products, and
coffee. It is believed that acrylamide has always been present in food as a
cooking, whether in the domestic kitchen or at industrial scale.
Whilst acrylamide was classified as 'probably carcinogenic to humans', the
risk to public health at the levels found in food remains somewhat unclear (See
EFSA opinion below). As a
precautionary approach, manufacturers adopted mitigation strategies aimed
reducing levels based on the principle of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably
limit has been specified for the presence of acrylamide in food. A European
Commission Recommendation of 10 January 2011 on investigations into the levels
acrylamide in food has established a series of “indicative values” for
in certain product categories. Revisions to the Recommendation and amended
“indicative values” were endorsed by the SCoFCAH Standing Committee on 1 July
These “indicative values” are not prescribed by law, however Member States are
recommended to carry out investigations in cases where the levels of acrylamide
in a foodstuff, identified by ongoing routine monitoring, exceeds the relevant
More than 200 research projects have been carried out at an EU and international
level to improve understanding of the formation of acrylamide in food, identify
what can be done to reduce levels and clarify the possible risk to human
In particular, the food industry has conducted a significant research programme
and individual companies / trade associations have shared information via
FoodDrinkEurope to accelerate the implementation of possible steps to reduce
acrylamide levels in food.
There is no single solution to reduce acrylamide levels in the range of foods in
which it has been found. FoodDrinkEurope has therefore developed and maintained
a Acrylamide Toolbox which summarises the reduction measures identified by industry to date. The
latest revision of the FoodDrinkEurope Toolbox was published on 10 January
This can also be found on the European Commission’s website alongside other relevant information on the subject.
The Toolbox allows individual manufacturers, including SMEs with limited R&D
resources, to evaluate the suitability of the 'tools' with regard to their
products and their manufacturing process / equipment whilst continuing to
consumers with high quality products consistent with their brand image and
expectations. Some of these 'tools' could also be relevant to reduce levels of
acrylamide formed during food preparation in catering establishments and in the
The Toolbox has been supported by the EU and national authorities and the Codex
Code of Practice on Acrylamide also draws on this approach.
Considerable progress has already been made by the food industry in reducing
levels of acrylamide in e.g. potato crisps (30-40%); potato fries (15%); and
crispbread (75%); but more work is needed, for example on certain types of
understand the mechanism of formation and the effects of agronomy and
To inform SMEs of these developments, FoodDrinkEurope's Process Contaminants
Expert Group has prepared a series of pamphlets on biscuits, cereals, crisps, bread and French fries . These highlight relevant effective acrylamide mitigation strategies and raise
awareness of the Toolbox approach. The pamphlets, which have been translated
into several European languages, are available alongside the Toolbox on the DG
Sanco Website and are used by national authorities. The pamphlets were last
on 2 June 2012.
On 4 June 2015, EFSA published their Scientific Opinion on acrylamide in food.
The opinion was fairly balanced, although it did conclude, based on animal
studies, that acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing
for consumers in all age groups and hence is a public health concern. The
also stated that “results from human studies provide limited and inconsistent
evidence of increased risk of developing cancer (of the kidney, endometrium and
ovaries) in association with dietary exposure to acrylamide”.
In the light of the EFSA opinion, the EU Commission is expected to publish risk
management options in September 2015 for discussion with Member States. The
Commission is anticipating a stakeholder consultation in November 2015, with
discussions proposed for December 2015 and implementation as early as February
March 2016. FoodDrinkEurope is currently finalising an alternative regulatory
strategy, based around the mandatory evaluation of tools by food business
operators, as an alternative to legal maximum limits.
FDF Acrylamide Mitigation Webinars
To promote the latest revision of the Toolbox, FDF has produced a series of
webinars looking at the latest developments relating to acrylamide, and at the
available for manufacturers to manage this potential contaminant. These
have been made publicly available to inform stakeholders and particularly SMEs
about relevant management strategies.
View the FDF Acrylamide Webinars
Last reviewed: 11 Aug 2015