These briefing materials have been prepared to provide background acrylamide information to the members of the Food Advisory Committee for the acrylamide meeting that will be held on February 24 and 25, 2003.  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss FDA’s action plan that has been revised for addressing the issue of acrylamide in food based on the recommendations from the Contaminants and Natural Toxicants Subcommittee meeting on December 4 and 5, 2002, where FDA presented its draft action plan. 


The discovery of acrylamide, a potential cancer-causing agent, in a variety of foods during cooking has raised much concern.  On April 24, 2002, researchers at the Swedish National Food Administration and Stockholm University reported that acrylamide formation is particularly associated with carbohydrate-rich foods that are oven-baked or fried at high temperatures.  Since the Swedish report, similar findings have been reported by Norway, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.  Preliminary analysis by the FDA also supports these findings.  Recent findings suggest that one mechanism governing acrylamide formation may involve asparagine and glucose or other reducing sugars.  Since acrylamide is a potential human carcinogen and genotoxicant, the formation of acrylamide in foods is a significant potential health concern.  It is not known if there is a direct link between acrylamide in food and cancer in humans.  Further research into the Toxicology, Formation, Occurrence, and Exposure will assist FDA in adequately evaluating the potential human risk of acrylamide. 


FDA has developed an action plan to address the many public health questions that these new findings have raised. The action plan outlines FDA's goals and planned actions on the issue of Acrylamide in food.  Some of these goals include:



The action plan also includes a timeline of planned meetings, FDA's intentions to work with other federal agencies, and FDA's intentions to participate in international efforts.  The FDA seeks the Food Advisory Committee’s input on this revised action plan, as this document will guide FDA's activities on the issue of acrylamide over the next several years.