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Europe: ‘Alarming’ acrylamide levels in crisps strengthen calls for mandatory limits

© iStockInvestigations conducted by Il Salvagente, a consumer Italian magazine, found seven out of the 18 tested samples had an acrylamide level above 800 micrograms per kilogram, exceeding benchmark levels set out by the European Union of 750 micrograms per kilogram. The highest concentrations were found in crisps made by French retail group Auchan, achieving an acrylamide level measuring 1600 micrograms per kilogram. Other crisp makers that fared badly include Lidl’s own brand at 1300, Amica Chips (1200), Pam (1000), San Carlo Classica (950), Coop (990) and Amica Chips Eldorada at 800 micrograms per kilogram. Results of the investigation were a matter of urgency for Floriana Cimmarusti, SAFE’s secretary general, who urged action to limit acrylamide levels for crisps but for other foods too. “Faced with the current exposure levels, we could benefit from more determination by setting a maximum level to reduce acrylamide in some products, starting with baby foods”, said Cimmarusti. 

The European Snacks Association welcomes the establishment of benchmark values that go along with the legal obligation to implement acrylamide mitigation measures that so far have been of voluntary nature, and are represented in the FoodDrinkEurope Toolbox. “Since the detection of acrylamide in certain foods our sector is leading the work in reducing acrylamide in our products via raw material selection, process and product adaptions. This on-going work resulted so far in a decline in mean acrylamide levels over the last 14 years of roughly 50%. Results can be found in the study “Acrylamide levels in potato crisps in Europe from 2002 to 2016“. More