Commission Recommendation 2007/331/EC of 3 May 2007 on the monitoring of acrylamide levels in food requires Member States to perform annually in 2007, 2008 and 2009 the monitoring of acrylamide levels in certain foodstuffs. The current report describes the results from this monitoring exercise and presents exposure estimates for the different target populations.
Member States were invited to analyse annually approximately 2000 food samples in the following main food categories: ‘French fries’, ‘potato crisps’, ‘potato products for home cooking’, ‘bread’, ‘breakfast cereals’, ‘biscuits’, ‘roasted coffee’, ‘jarred baby foods’, ‘processed cereal-based baby foods’ and ‘other products’.
Twenty Member States and Norway submitted 3287 new results in 2009 for acrylamide levels in foodstuffs, with a minimum of 99 reported for ‘processed cereal-based baby foods’ and a maximum of 677 reported for ‘other products’. The upper bound mean of acrylamide levels ranged from 37 µg/kg for ‘bread soft’ to 1504 µg/kg for ‘substitute coffee’. The highest 95th percentile value was reported for ‘substitute coffee’ at 3976 and the highest maximum value for ‘potato crisps’ at 4804 µg/kg.
The 2009 results were compared with the 3728 results for 2008 and 3350 results for 2007. A mixed effect model was used to evaluate statistically significant changes. To detect clear statistical trends the number of years covered should be extended. However, based on the three years of information available it could be identified that acrylamide levels decreased in ‘crackers’, ‘infant biscuits’ and ‘gingerbread’ over the three years, increased in ‘crisp bread’ and ‘instant coffee’, whilst showing no statistically significant changes in ‘potato crisps’, ‘oven fried potatoes’, ‘bread not specified’, ‘breakfast cereals’, ‘jarred baby foods’ and ‘processed cereal-based baby foods. No European trend could be identified in eight food groups, whilst there was insufficient information available for ‘wafers’, ‘coffee not specified’ and ‘muesli and porridge’.
Exposure to acrylamide was estimated for different populations by combining pooled acrylamide occurrence values obtained through the monitoring program in 2007 to 2009 with individual dietary information derived from the EFSA Comprehensive European Food Consumption Database.
Exposure estimates were similar to previously reported estimates for European countries. The mean acrylamide intake for adults (>18 years) in Europe was estimated to range between 0.31 and 1.1 µg/kg b.w. per day and the 95th percentile between 0.58 and 2.3 µg/kg b.w. per day. ‘Fried potatoes’ (including ‘French fries’), ‘soft bread’ and ‘roasted coffee’ were identified as the major contributors to overall adult acrylamide exposure. Mean acrylamide intake for adolescents (11-17 years) in Europe was estimated to range between 0.43 and 1.4 µg/kg b.w. per day and the 95th percentile between 0.94 and 3.1 µg/kg b.w. per day. ‘Fried potatoes’, ‘soft bread’ and ‘biscuits’ or ‘potato crisps’ depending on the survey were identified as the major contributors to overall adolescence acrylamide exposure. For children (3-10 years) mean intake was estimated to range between 0.70 and 2.05 µg/kg b.w. per day and 95th percentile between 1.5 and 4.2 µg/kg b.w. per day and for toddlers (1-3 years) between 1.2 and 2.4 µg/kg b.w. per day and 95th percentile between 2.4 and 6.5 µg/kg b.w. per day, respectively. In the children and toddler population the three major contributors to acrylamide exposure were ‘fried potatoes’, ‘soft bread’ or ‘unspecified bread’ and ‘biscuits’.
The food industry developed the so-called ‘toolbox’ approach as a voluntary measure to provide guidance to producers and processors in identifying ways to lower acrylamide in their products. As in previous annual acrylamide reports (EFSA 2009 and 2010) it can be concluded likewise that the application of the acrylamide toolbox has had only limited success. To lower overall exposure it would be desirable to further reduce acrylamide levels in food groups contributing the most to acrylamide exposure, like ‘fried potatoes’ (including ‘French fries’), ‘soft bread’, ‘roasted coffee’, ‘biscuits’.
To facilitate interpretation of results in future years and to detect clear trends the number of years covered needs to be extended, sampling should consistently cover the same products in different years and contain sufficient number of samples per food group in order to be able to distinguish random fluctuations from real observable trends.