acrylamide, potato chips, french fries

Food Manufacturers to Cut Carcinogen Levels in Chips, Fries

August 04, 2008 04:42 PM
by Isabel Cowles
Food manufacturers in California have agreed to phase out acrylamide, a carcinogenic compound found in potato chips and french fries.

30-Second Summary

A 2005 lawsuit from the state of California against food manufacturers H.J. Heinz Co., Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods Inc., Lance Inc. and fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC has driven some food producers to look for new ways of preparing their products.

California sued food manufacturers for violating a law that requires companies to post warning labels on products with carcinogens. According to MSNBC, “The companies avoided trial by agreeing to pay a combined $3 million in fines and reduce the levels of acrylamide in their products over three years.”

The chemical acrylamide, which naturally occurs when carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures, has been associated with cancer and can be found in french fries, potato chips and some breakfast cereals.

Traces of acrylamide can also be found in breads, olives, asparagus, coffee and prune juice; however, the former California Attorney General, who presided over the lawsuit in 2005, asked that the chemical be addressed in potato products only.

Lawsuits against McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC and Procter & Gamble Co. were settled after the companies agreed to label their products for acrylamide.

Headline Link: Food manufacturers to phase out acrylamide

Background: California sues over carcinogenic foods in 2005

Reference: Foods containing acrylamide

Related: Health concerns in prepared and packaged foods


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