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Workshop on acrylamide formation in food




The meeting demonstrated that since April 2002 international research on acrylamide in food has progressed rapidly, however there are still many questions that need to be answered. The interest in the acrylamide issue is apparent from the response to this meeting: 60 participants from the food processing and catering industry, governmental bodies and academia from Europe, Canada and the USA attended the workshop. A full list of attendees is given in Annex II. During the course of discussions several areas were identified to further investigate the formation of acrylamide in food. The results of this work may then be used to inform methods of reducing acrylamide levels. It was highlighted that there is a need to develop a better understanding of the fundamental chemistry of acrylamide, how it is formed, what the rate-limiting steps of formation are and how formation can be reduced. The main challenge for researchers is to understand how acrylamide is formed and how to influence the mechanism of formation, in order to reduce acrylamide levels whilst retaining the food’s nutritional and organoleptic properties, and not adversely affecting other food safety parameters.

Areas identified as needing further research included:

• The role of water and the physical state of the food matrix.
• Time and temperature processing parameters.
• The influence of ammonia/ammonium bicarbonate and other CO2-releasing agents
on acrylamide levels.
• Chemical or enzymatic reduction of acrylamide e.g. using asparaginase to reduce
asparagine levels.
• Developing profiles of acrylamide precursors in raw materials and examining the
effects of natural variation (e.g. crop variety, weather, season and agronomic
practices) on these. This information could be used to advise farmers, concerning
husbandry and crop storage to potentially minimise the acrylamide precursors, or
could be transferred into a plant-breeding programme.
• Optimising storage conditions of potatoes to obtain a balance between acrylamide
production potential and organoleptic properties.