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Acrylamide

Mitigation for caterers

What is it?

Acrylamide is a substance that is produced naturally in foods as a result of high-temperature cooking, e.g, baking, grilling, or frying. Acrylamide can cause cancer in animals and experts believe it can probably cause cancer in humans. Acrylamide has been found in a wide variety of foods, including those prepared industrially, in catering and at home. It is found in staple foods such as bread, potatoes as well as in some specialty products such as crisps, biscuits and coffee. 

The Law

Food businesses are required to provide safe food under Regulation EC 178/2002 and 852/2004. Commission Regulation (EU) No 2017/2158 requires that food business operators (FBO) apply the acrylamide mitigation measures set in the Annexes in the Regulation. In practice this means acrylamide becomes a food hazard and needs to be part of food safety management based on HACCP principles. Mitigation controls need to reduce levels to as low as reasonable achievable (ALARA).

Guidance

The UKHospitality (British Hospitality Association), has released interim guidance. There is still some areas where clarification is needed by the EU. The final BHA Acrylamide Guidance will act as a key tool for industry and enforcers alike.

• Generally speaking the darker the colour of a starchy product, the greater the acrylamide level, so simple rules are: 

• cook to a golden yellow colour where appropriate “go for gold”

• do not over-cook starchy foods, consider temperature/time, use a timer

• follow manufacturers’ instructions

When the enforcement officer visits

Enforcement policy is likely to be ‘light touch’ initially, however staff need to be trained to expect questions on acrylamide mitigation and policy.

• Ensure all relevant staff can show Enforcement Officers how you are taking all reasonable steps to mitigate acrylamide in your business through demonstrating your procedures, or by showing them your amended FSMS, and any supporting documentation, including any colour charts and checks that you may do 

• Show that you are following manufacturer’s instructions 

• If you have any posters and charts, then make sure they are displayed so that it is clear that you are aware of the controls required.

Audits and training

Annex 2 of the BHA Guide is shaping up nicely and provides a template for monitoring and audits.

We have added a section to our iAuditor tool on acrylamide and included the topic in our refresher training and Level 2 Course. Level 3 food safety training provides supervisors and managers with food safety management skills based on HACCP principles.

Reference

British Hospitality Association Draft Industry Guide to Acrylamide: Catering and Food Service


Disclaimer: Only the Courts can provide a full interpretation of the Law. The information contained in this blog has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official guidance. We take no responsibility if the information in the article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. 

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