Acrylamide is a chemical found in both, industrial and household chemicals. Recently Swedish scientists discovered high levels of acrylamide in fried, baked, or roasted carbohydrate rich foods. It is believed that acrylamide is formed during the Millard reaction between sugar molecules and the amino acid, asparagine.
At present there exists no safety regulatory value for acrylamide in foods. The prevalence and possible health effects of acrylamide in various foods create an enormous,growing public concern to scientists, and the general public, worldwide. Acrylamide is toxic at high levels in animals.
Insufficient data exist regarding the toxicity of acrylamide in humans. Despite the lack of data, the precautionary principle should be adopted and the presence of acrylamide in foods should be carefully regulated and monitored. The risk of developing adverse health effects depends on the level of exposure to acrylamide. Since acrylamide is consumed frequently by the general population at very high levels, this may serve to increase the risk of cancer in humans.
The prevalence and incidence of cancer as a leading cause of death is noted in many countries, worldwide. Whether the intake of acrylamide in food leads to the development of cancer is a hypothesis that needs to be urgently tested. International standards and limits for acrylamide in various foods should be developed and implemented without delay in protecting the public’s health.