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Acrylamide is formed when foods containing starch are exposed to high temperatures, for example when frying french fries. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of cancer for consumers of all ages. The process relevant for the emergence is called the Maillard reaction and is also responsible for the browning and the associated roasting aromas.
The darker the food is browned, the more acrylamide it contains. On the other hand, it is not possible to cook completely without acrylamide, and in some foods, such as coffee or cocoa, the substance is largely responsible for the taste.
(Photo 1: greenpapillon / fotolia.com)