Swedish researchers say that bread, biscuits, crisps and French fries contain high quantities of acrylamide, a substance believed to increase cancer risk. Their research found that baking or frying carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes or cereals formed acrylamide, a much studied substance classified as a probable human carcinogen.
The research was deemed important enough for the scientists to go public with their findings before the research had been officially published in an academic journal. Findings unveiled at a news conference called by the food administration showed that an ordinary bag of potato crisps may contain up to 500 times more of the substance than the top level allowed in drinking water by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, acrylamide induces gene mutations and has been found in animal tests to cause benign and malignant stomach tumours.
It is also known to cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous system. The discovery that acrylamide is formed during the preparation of food, and at high levels, is new knowledge.
The Swiss researchers say however, that their product analyses that were based on more than 100 random samples, was not extensive enough for the administration to recommend the withdrawal of any products from supermarket shelves.
Frying at high temperatures or for a long time should be avoided. Our advice to eat less fat-rich products such as French fries and crisps, remains valid. He said the findings applied worldwide, not only to Sweden, as the food raw materials used in the analyses had showed no traces of acrylamide.
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