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Sunday, April 22, 2018

We eat it every day: be careful!

Por mayli2017

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recognizes acrylamide as a possible carcinogen for humans. However, for the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN), it is not clear that the conclusive results of the investigations carried out on animals subjected to very high doses of acrylamide can be extrapolated to humans.

The Swedish Food Safety Agency, in 2002, revealed that acrylamide emerged not only in industrial processes, or in tobacco smoke, but also in food. Since then, the World Health Organization and the rest of the international health institutions tried to manage caution. It is important that we know that for acrylamide to be related to the probability or the increased probability of the appearance of cancer is 170 micrograms. In a person weighing 80 kilos, for example, that minimum dose would be 13,600 micrograms of acrylamide a day.

Elihu Berle, a judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, put acrylamide on the mainstream map a few days ago by forcing California coffee shops, including Starbucks, to add a health warning about the carcinogenic risks of this chemical present in the coffee.She is an old acquaintance of the industry and the health authorities, but if this is her first conscious contact with her, she knows that from now on she will not stop seeing her in every food.

As of April 11, a regulation of the European Commission comes into force that requires the implementation of a series of measures to limit as much as possible the presence of acrylamide in food: because it is not only in the coffee, it is located in the chips even in the baby jars.Now, how do we detect it? Acrylamide is a substance that can be formed in many ways, but the most common is when food is cooked or processed at temperatures above 120 degrees. It is then that the reducing sugars in food, those that are more easily altered, such as potato starch and cereals, fructose or that which contains honey and proteins react with each other in the heat, and give rise to to this element. The higher the temperature and the lower the degree of humidity, the more acrylamide.

This phenomenon occurs in all foods, although those rich in starch are those that show higher levels when fried and roasted. It is exactly what happens with coffee during its roasting process, whether roasted or natural. Therefore, the regulation puts a special focus on fried potatoes, bread in all its formats, cookies, biscuits, coffee and substitutes.Before anyone is alarmed - and this is a matter to which we must all pay special attention - it is valid to clarify that these measures are based on the precautionary principle because, as the regulation itself explains, between 10% and 15% % of foods that have excess acrylamide can be reduced by applying good practices.

Dr. Ricardo Cubedo, an oncologist at the IOB Institute of Oncology in Madrid, states that there is no doubt that this substance is carcinogenic in laboratory mice, but no one has yet been able to prove that the acrylamide that humans ingest through food has incidence on cancer.