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Acrylamide: an Update on Current Knowledge in Analysis, Levels in Food, Mechanisms of Formation, and Potential Strategies of Control

Richard H. Stadler, Gabriele Scholz
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2004.tb00018.x 449-467 First published online: 1 December 2004

Abstract

This review summarizes the research to date on acrylamide levels in food, analytical methods, main sources of dietary exposure, mechanisms of formation, and mitigation research in the major food categories. Significant progress in the research has been made over the past 18 months, as reflected by the numerous publications and national and international workshops on the subject. This rapid pace of developments is mainly attributable to the coordinated and collaborative efforts of all of those concerned: the food industry, academia, private/enforcement laboratories, and national authorities. Most of the information gaps identified since the findings in early 2002 on the occurrence of acrylamide in foods and exposure assessments have been addressed, and public databases have been established by several authorities. Today, the performance of analytical methods, particularly for “difficult” food matrices, is adequate, and any modifications made over the past 12 to 18 months in analytical procedures did not significantly impact the initial exposure calculations. Several avenues into mitigation have been explored in the different food categories, with much emphasis being placed on potato-based products, and empirical trials (mostly pilot studies) have provided better knowledge of the key parameters that influence acrylamide formation. However, despite these intensive efforts, only marginal reductions have been achieved by the food industry, and any further progress will entail long-term studies at the primary production level. Any measures devised to reduce exposure to acrylamide in commercial foods must be carefully assessed in terms of food safety and quality. A hitherto poorly addressed concern is the formation of acrylamide in foods prepared by consumers in the home, and more guidance on this by national authorities is warranted.