In the first move of its kind in Canada, Health Canada is considering allowing food manufacturers to add an anti-cancer drug to junk food to help thwart the risk of cancer from such foods.
The drug in question is asparaginase, an enzyme that has been shown to reduce the production of acrylamide, a potentially dangerous chemical produced when carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures. Studies have linked acrylamide ingestion with an increased cancer risk in mice, however it’s effect on human health remains unclear. Recent research has found very high levels of acrylamide in fried foods, such as potato chips and French fries.
Health Canada says it has completed a safety assessment of the anti-cancer enzyme and hasn’t found any health concerns. The anti-cancer enzyme is already used in food production in the U.S., Denmark, Australia and New Zealand.
Health Canada is accepting comments from the public on the proposal until February 10, 2010.
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