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FDA Posts Revised Questions and Answers on Acrylamide

Constituent Update

May 23, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has updated the Qs & As on acrylamide with new information related to acrylamide in foods, including adding consumer information on optional ways to reduce acrylamide levels in certain foods.

Acrylamide is a substance that forms in certain foods during some high-temperature cooking practices, such as frying and baking. Acrylamide causes cancer in laboratory animals at high doses, and is therefore a potential human carcinogen. Since the discovery of acrylamide in food in 2002, FDA has initiated a broad range of surveillance and research activities related to acrylamide.

In 2003, FDA posted Qs &As on acrylamide on its website, including the dietary message "to eat a balanced diet, choosing a variety of foods that are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits, and vegetables." In 2004, in the Action Plan for Acrylamide in Food, FDA announced its intention to "develop and revise consumer messages about dietary choices and cooking methods, as additional knowledge is gained about acrylamide in food." Given advances in knowledge about ways to mitigate acrylamide in food and FDA's stated intention to revise consumer messages as more knowledge becomes available, FDA has updated its Qs & As on acrylamide to include limited consumer information on acrylamide reduction. This information covers storage of potatoes before cooking, cooking practices for potato products and toasted bread, and dietary intake.

FDA is providing this information for consumers who are looking for optional ways to reduce acrylamide. FDA's best advice for acrylamide and eating is that consumers adopt a healthy eating plan, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars. FDA is waiting for completion of new toxicology research that is underway before considering whether new consumer advice on acrylamide is needed.

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