Acrylamide is a chemical that naturally forms in certain foods, particularly plant-based foods that are rich in carbohydrates and low in protein, during processing or cooking at high temperatures. The highest concentrations of acrylamide have been detected in potato chips and french fries, although it has been found in other foods as well. Additional research is being undertaken in order to more fully understand the risks of acrylamide to humans.
What is Health Canada Doing to Protect Canadians?
Acrylamide was included in Batch 5 of the Challenge under the Government of Canada Chemicals Management Plan. On February 21, 2009, the Government of Canada released its draft assessment report for acrylamide.
To ensure that Canadian exposure to acrylamide from food sources is kept as low as possible, Health Canada has committed to working with health authorities in other countries to better understand how acrylamide is formed in foods, what foods contain the highest amounts of acrylamide, and what impact acrylamide has on human health. Health Canada is also collaborating with the food industry to further pursue reduction efforts for acrylamide in processed foods.
In conjunction with the release of the draft Screening Assessment Report (SAR) for Batch 5 chemicals, Health Canada has updated its proposed risk management measures, to limit Canadians' exposure to acrylamide from food sources.
- On March 14, 2012 Health Canada amended the Food and Drug Regulations to permit the use of asparaginase in certain food products.
- Summary of Comments from Health Canada's Proposal to Amend the Food and Drug Regulations to Permit the Use of Asparaginase in Certain Food Products - August 2010
What Can You Do?
Health Canada recommends that Canadians consume a variety of foods from each food group according to Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide. Health Canada has also prepared some informations on how to minimize acrylamide formation in food prepared at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Research, Surveillance and Risk Assessment Results
- March 2017 - Summary of Comments Received as part of Health Canada's 2013-2014 Call for Data to Assess the Effectiveness of Acrylamide Reduction Strategies in Food
- September 2013 - Technical Consultation: Health Canada Call for Data to Assess the Effectiveness of Acrylamide Reduction Strategies in Food
- Health Canada reviews epidemiological studies on dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of endometrial, ovarian and/or breast cancer
- The Determination of Acrylamide in Foods by LC-ESI-MS-MS
- August 2012 - Health Canada's Revised Exposure Assessment of Acrylamide in Food
- Major pathway of formation of acrylamide in foods and possible approaches to mitigation
- August 2009 - Acrylamide levels in selected Canadian foods
- Canadian Exposure Assessment for Acrylamide in Food
- Health Canada's Acrylamide Monitoring Program
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