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  1. Process Contaminants in Food

Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food

Acrylamide is a substance that forms through a natural chemical reaction between sugars and asparagine, an amino acid, in plant-based foods – including potato and cereal-grain-based foods. Acrylamide forms during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking. In research studies, high levels of acrylamide caused cancer in laboratory animals, but the levels of acrylamide used in these studies were much greater than those found in human food. The FDA monitors levels of this contaminant in certain foods because of its potential to affect human health.

The data through 2004 presented below are results from FDA's survey of individual food products. FDA also surveyed composite food samples from the Agency's Total Diet Study (TDS) for acrylamide through 2006; the TDS data are available at Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food: Total Diet Study Results.

Between 2011 and 2015, the FDA collected approximately 2500 individual food product samples to study acrylamide levels in foods. Samples included food products known to contain higher levels of acrylamide. These 2011 – 2015 data were collected as a follow up to the data collected from 2002 - 2006, although the products and product brands of foods sampled vary.

The most recent data, as compared to earlier sampling, indicate significant decreases in acrylamide concentrations in potato chips and crackers; while acrylamide levels in other foods generally did not decrease significantly. Decreased acrylamide concentrations in potato chips and crackers suggest that some mitigating strategies are being used by industry; however, the continued presence of acrylamide in food suggests efforts to reduce acrylamide should continue.

This research contributes to the body of literature intended to inform strategies to promote a healthy food supply.

Because of unit-to-unit and lot-to-lot variation in acrylamide levels within food products, data are not designed to be used to inform consumer food choices. However, when considered collectively, these data can be useful in estimating overall exposures, and exposures by food product category.

Acrylamide Values in Individual Food Product Samples

Date from 2015

Data from 2011

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