Acrylamide - Commission Regulation (EU) 2017-2158
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 overall aim of the Regulation is to ensure that food businesses put in place steps to mitigate acrylamide formation. 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 for certain businesses producing food at greater risk of developing higher levels of acrylamide. The regulation therefore applies directly to businesses producing the following products:
- 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,
- as well as businesses involved in certain retail and catering activities.
Different requirements will apply depending on the nature and size of the businesses concerned. For example, a cereal manufacturer will be required to undertake testing for acrylamide in their products and put in place mitigation measures, whereas a local fish and chip shop will only be required to take appropriate mitigation as outlined in the regulation in line with ALARA principles.
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 these new requirements.
Food and Drink Europe have also produced a tool kit for manufacturers of these types of products:
In summary, and only where appropriate food business operators 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
For larger manufacturing businesses: 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 undertaken.
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