The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued final guidance to the food industry to help growers, manufacturers and food service operators take steps to reduce levels of acrylamide in certain foods, including baked goods as bread, crackers, and breakfast cereals that are cooked from cereal crops such as wheat and corn.
Acrylamide is a chemical that may form in certain foods during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting and baking. The National Toxicology Program characterizes the substance as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” And efforts to reduce acrylamide levels are already underway in many sectors of the food industry.
To help mitigate potential human health risks, the FDA’s guidance recommends that companies be aware of the levels of acrylamide in the foods they produce and consider adopting approaches, if feasible, that reduce acrylamide in their products. The guidance also offers a range of steps that growers, manufacturers, and food service operators may take to help reduce acrylamide levels.
Summary for cereal-based food, FDA recommends:
• Using wheat varieties that are lower in asparagine and using wheat grown with adequate soil sulfate and without excessive nitrogen fertilization may help reduce acrylamide in cereal-based foods.
Replacing ammonium bicarbonate in cookies and crackers with alternative leavening agents, while avoiding overall increases in sodium levels, may help reduce acrylamide.
• Replacing reducing sugars with nonreducing sugars, using reducing sugars with lower fructose content, and only adding sugar coatings to breakfast cereals after toasting steps may help reduce acrylamide.
• Using asparaginase treatment may help reduce acrylamide in cereal-based foods, but dose, contact time, dough water content, pH, and water chlorination are important considerations.
• Using calcium supplementation may help reduce acrylamide in non-calcium fortified breads or breakfast cereals, but the addition of calcium propionate may increase acrylamide levels.
• Using yeast fermentation and changing fermentation conditions may help reduce acrylamide in cereal-based foods.
• Lowering thermal input through modifying baking times and temperatures and considering alternative baking technologies may help reduce acrylamide in cereal-based foods.
• Monitoring production by using color as an indicator of acrylamide may help reduce acrylamide, but the correlation between color and acrylamide may have to be determined on a product by product basis.
• Setting a higher moisture endpoint may help reduce acrylamide in cereal-based foods, and monitoring moisture levels in finished products may be useful as an indirect indicator of acrylamide levels.
Source: World Bakers