In a consumer update posted to its website, the FDA details the reasons to consider cutting back on acrylamide, a chemical that forms naturally in plant-based foods when they are cooked at high temperatures for a long time. In other words, it's usually found in fried foods, like french fries. It's produced from a chemical reaction from the sugars and an amino acid called asparagine, which is found in many grains and vegetables. (And potatoes have a particularly high amount of it, further exacerbating the french fry problem.)
Outside of the kitchen, the chemical is used primarily for industrial purposes: producing paper, dyes and plastics and treating drinking water, wastewater and sewage.
Animal studies have shown that high levels of acrylamide are linked to an increased risk of cancer, although long-term studies have not yet been done in humans. Both the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization call the levels of acrylamide in foods a “major concern,” and call for more research.
Scientists first found acrylamide in food in 2002, and according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, it's found in about 40 percent of the calories consumed in a standard American diet. Frying, roasting or baking tends to produce acrylamide, but boiling or steaming foods typically do not.
For the full story: http://www.today.com/health/dont-eat-crispy-french-fries-fda-tells-how-cut-acrylamide-2D11591387
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