Occurrence in Food

The findings from the initial Swedish study indicated that the highest levels (150-4000 mg/kg) of acryla-mide were detected in carbohydrate-rich foods such as potatoes and in heated commercial potato products (potato chips) and crispbread. Moderate levels (5-50 mg/kg) were measured in protein-rich foods that were heated, whereas unheated or boiled foods showed no detectable acrylamide (<5 mg/kg).

The governments of several countries throughout the world performed similar analyses of acrylamide in foods and findings were fairly consistent with those reported in the Swedish study. The FDA analyzed dozens of foods for acrylamide levels and concluded that the highest levels were observed in french fries (29 samples; range, 117-1030 mg/kg) and in potato chips (40 samples; range, 117-2762 mg/kg). Multiple samples from different lots of the same commercial food products showed significant variability, with the highest levels often several times greater than the lowest levels. Commercial potato products that could be prepared by baking or by other methods showed much higher levels of acrylamide in the baked products. Acryla-mide levels in baby food ranged from below the detection level (<10 mg/kg) to 130 mg/kg. All infant formula samples had levels below 10 mg/kg, and acrylamide levels in dairy products were also low.

The widespread findings of acrylamide in foodstuffs throughout the world provided the basis for numerous studies designed to elucidate the mechanisms for acrylamide formation in foods. It has been demonstrated that acrylamide can be formed from classical Maillard reactions as well as from reaction of the fatty acid oxidation product acrolein with ammonia and subsequent oxidation steps. The most plausible explanation for the relatively high acrylamide levels in fried potato products derives from a mechanism involving the reaction of the amino group of the amino acid asparagine with the

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