Acrylamide forms naturally during high temperature cooking and processing, such as frying, roasting and baking, particularly in potato-based products and cereal-based products. It is not possible to eliminate acrylamide from foods, but actions can be taken to ensure that acrylamide levels are as low as reasonably achievable (the ALARA principle).
Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158 of 20 November 2017 establishing mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in food will apply directly to UK food businesses from the 11 April 2018. In Scotland the Regulation is implemented by The Food Hygiene Regulations (Scotland) 2006.
The Regulation promotes and supports best practice in managing acrylamide as a food safety hazard throughout the food chain. The overall aim of the Regulation is to ensure that food businesses put in place steps to mitigate acrylamide formation where practicable. The focus of the legislation is on an ALARA approach. The Regulation sets out practical steps that can be incorporated into food safety management systems (FSMS) based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles to mitigate acrylamide.
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and Food Standards Agency (FSA) are working with the British Hospitality Association and other key stakeholders to develop guidance which will help the catering and foodservice sectors comply with new rules.
The measures are proportionate to the nature and size of the business. Different requirements apply to local and independent FBOs selling food directly to the consumer or directly into local retail, for example, independent cafes, fish and chip shops and restaurants. For larger centrally controlled and supplied chains with standardised menus and operating procedures the legislation reflects that the controls of acrylamide can be managed centrally. This would apply to for example, large restaurants, hotels and café chains.
Where appropriate FBO will be expected to:
- Be aware of acrylamide as a food safety hazard and have a general understanding of how acrylamide is formed in the food they produce;
- Take the necessary steps to mitigate acrylamide formation in the food they produce; adopting the relevant measures as part of their food safety management procedures
- Undertake representative sampling and analysis, to monitor the levels of acrylamide in their products as part of their assessment of the mitigation measures
- Keep appropriate records of the mitigation measures undertaken, together with sampling plans and results of any testing
The new legislation applies to all FBOs that produce or place on the market the foods listed below:
- French fries, other cut (deep fried) products and sliced potato crisps from fresh potatoes
- Potato crisps, snacks, crackers and other potato products from potato dough
- Breakfast cereals (excluding porridge)
- Fine bakery wares: cookies, biscuits, rusks, cereal bars, scones, cornets, wafers, crumpets and gingerbread, as well as crackers, crisp breads and bread substitutes
- Coffee: roast coffee; instant (soluble) coffee
- Coffee substitutes
- Baby food and process cereal-based food intended for infants and young children