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  5. Acrylamide
  1. Chemical Contaminants in Food

Process Contaminants in Food

Acrylamide is a substance that forms through a natural chemical reaction between sugars and asparagine, an amino acid, in plant-based foods – including potato and cereal-grain-based foods. Acrylamide forms during high-temperature cooking, such as frying, roasting, and baking. In research studies, high levels of acrylamide caused cancer in laboratory animals, but the levels of acrylamide used in these studies were much greater than those found in human food. The FDA monitors levels of this contaminant in certain foods because of its potential to affect human health.

Although it's not clear exactly what risk acrylamide poses to humans, the FDA has recommendations for both consumers and industry about how to reduce acrylamide formation in foods. In 2016, the FDA developed a Guidance for Industry that outlines strategies to help growers, manufacturers, and food service operators reduce acrylamide in the food supply. And for consumers, the FDA has developed resources that contain information about acrylamide and ways to reduce exposure from foods prepared at home. See the More Information for Consumers section below.

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