Acrylamide is a chemical compound that typically forms in starchy food products during high-temperature cooking, including frying, baking and roasting, and that are high in certain amino acids and reducing sugars.
A statement of the Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) in 2005 noted that there may be a potential health concern with acrylamide which is considered to be both carcinogenic and genotoxic in experimental animals. The statement endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of a previous risk assessment on acrylamide carried out by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). In this assessment, JECFA concluded that acrylamide may indicate a human health concern and that efforts should be made to reduce exposure.
Industry (FoodDrinkEurope) have developed a “toolbox” containing measures that can be applied by the different sectors of food industry to reduce acrylamide levels. Sector specific brochures have also been developed.
The European Commission is monitoring acrylamide levels in food via specific monitoring recommendations. The results of the monitoring are compiled by EFSA. The second Commission recommendation adopted in January 2011 asks Member States to carry out further investigations at food operators’ premises in case high acrylamide levels are found. Indicative values have been established in that recommendation. The indicative values are not legal limits and do not require enforcement action if they are exceeded.
Since the Statement of the CONTAM Panel and the 2008 EFSA Scientific Colloquium on acrylamide carcinogenity, new scientific information from epidemiological and animal studies on the potential health effects of acrylamide in food has become available.
In order to assess the need for further measures as regards acrylamide in food, EFSA is requested by the European Commission to assess the risks related to the presence of acrylamide in food (Mandate M-2013-0002) and within this context is launching this specific call for data.
Submission of occurrence data (analytical results) on acrylamide in foods and beverages intended for human consumption collected outside official controls
Food business operators and other stakeholders are invited to submit analytical data on acrylamide occurrence levels in foods and beverages intended for human consumption as listed in Table 1 and collected from 2010 to date. Official monitoring data collected by the Member States will be submitted in the framework of the EFSA continuous call for data.
The analytical method used for the quantitative determination of acrylamide should have been validated. In accordance with Commission Recommendation 2010/307/EU, the method should achieve a LOQ of 30 µg/kg for bread and foods for infants and young children and 50 µg/kg for potato products, other cereal products, coffee and other products. Higher LOQs may be accepted only if they are shown to be adapted to the quantification of acrylamide levels in the corresponding food/beverages samples.
Data submission of occurrence data (analytical results) should follow the requirements identical to those described in the call for continuous collection of chemical contaminants occurrence data in food and feed (http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/data/call/datex101217.htm). Table 2 summarises the mandatory fields and recommended fields applicable for the data collection defined in this call.
The requirements are based on the same lists of controlled terms as defined in the Guidance on Standard Sample Description (SSD). The following links (Table 3a and Table 3b) provide documentation on how to format some additional information not covered by the SSD.
Food business operators, food manufacturers associations and other stakeholders can submit the data using the provided MS Excel (R) file (Table 4) by email to dcmdata [at] efsa.europa.eu.
Table 4: MS Excel file “Simplified reporting format” available at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/datexdata/docs/GenericReportingFormat.xls
Where the number of records to be submitted is above 10,000 rows, food business operators, food manufacturers associations and other stakeholders are invited to contact dcmdata [at] efsa.europa.eu to evaluate the need of an electronic transmission, using the EFSA web interface “Data Collection Framework (DCF)” (https://dcf.efsa.europa.eu/dcf-war). In that case, the data should be submitted in XML format. The XML schema can be downloaded from http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/scientific_output/files/main_documents/1895ax1.zip (file: StandardSampleDescription.xsd).
The data collection group to be selected when submitting data on the DCF is the group “OCC_GROUP2”. Further guidance on how to submit data through DCF is available at http://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/efsajournal/pub/1895.htm.
In order to streamline the data collection exercise, food manufacturers are invited to liaise with the relevant food manufacturer associations.
Deadline for transmitting data: 30 June 2013.
Please address any technical inquiries regarding the reporting of data to dcmdata [at] efsa.europa.eu
Updated: 29 April 2013
 Food and drink Europe Acrylamide toolbox (PDF)
 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION of 10.1.2011 on investigations into the levels of acrylamide in food (Text with EEA relevance) Brussels, 10.1.2011, C(2010) 9681 final (PDF)
 EFSA's 11th Scientific Colloquium - Acrylamide carcinogenicity - New evidence in relation to dietary exposure - 22 and 23 May 2008, Tabiano (PR), Italy.
 European Food Safety Authority; Standard sample description for food and feed. EFSA Journal 2010;8(1):1457 [54 pp.].