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Browned Toast and Potatoes a 'Potential Cancer Risk'

24/01/2017

Browned Toast and Potatoes a 'Potential Cancer Risk'People who eat browned toast, chips and potatoes could be increasing their risk of cancer, according to the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

That's because the chemical acrylamide - which is known to be toxic to DNA and cause cancer in animals - is produced when starchy foods are roasted, fried or grilled for too long at high temperatures.

For example, when bread is warmed to make toast the sugar, amino acids and water present in it combine to create colour and acrylamide. The darker the colour of the toast, the more acrylamide is present.

The FSA admits that it does not know exactly how much acrylamide can be tolerated by people, but it does believe we are all eating too much of it.

As a result, the FSA has launched a new campaign advising people to make some small changes to the way they prepare and cook food:

  • Always aim for a golden yellow colour when toasting, frying, baking, or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, bread and root vegetables

  • Store raw potatoes in a cool, dark place above 6C and not in the fridge.

  • Carefully follow cooking instructions when heating oven chips, pizzas, roast potatoes and parsnips

  • Make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet which includes five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, as well as starchy carbohydrates


In addition to the campaign, the FSA is also working with the food industry to reduce the amount of acrylamide found in processed food.

Steve Wearne, director of policy at the FSA, said most people were not aware that acrylamide even existed.

"We want our campaign to highlight the issue so that consumers know how to make the small changes that may reduce their acrylamide consumption whilst still eating plenty of starchy carbohydrates and vegetables as recommended in government healthy eating advice."
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