Acrylamide is a chemical that appears in certain foods that have been cooked at high temperatures (above 120°C or 250°F). Levels of acrylamide seem to increase the longer the foods are cooked. High levels of acrylamide have been found in French fries, potato chips, cookies, coffee, processed cereals and bread.
Some possible risks to Canadians were identified when acrylamide was reviewed under the federal Chemicals Management Plan. Although research is not yet able to tell us for certain if there is a link between cancer and the levels of acrylamide in food, the federal government is trying to develop ways to reduce the amount of acrylamide we are exposed to. As part of this, Health Canada has started a monitoring program to study the levels of acrylamide in the food we eat. The food industry is also studying ways to reduce the formation of acrylamide during food processing.
If you’re worried about acrylamide, avoid or cut back on fried or deep-fried foods that have been shown to contain it, such as French fries and potato chips.