International food safety experts met in an emergency session last week at the World Health Organization.
The 25 specialists, mainly from Europe, the United States and Japan, were summoned to Geneva after researchers in Sweden found high levels of acrylamide, a substance that causes cancer in animals, in carbohydrate-rich foods such as potato chips. Acrylamide is of high concern because it can cause cancer in animals and probably causes it in human beings.
But the panel said that more studies are needed before firm conclusions could be drawn and recommendations made to the public about their eating habits. After 3 days of closed-door talks, experts recommended more research be done on how acrylamide is formed, and at what temperatures, as well on the types of foods involved--work which could take from weeks to a couple of years.
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