Could your burnt breakfast cause cancer?

By Tyler Lewis

Header image by Tyler Lewis

Wave goodbye to burnt toast and crispy roast potatoes as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) adds them to the already long list of things that may cause cancer.

The FSA begins it’s ‘Go for Gold’ initiative this week to inform the public about the presence of the chemical acrylamide in home cooked food. Acrylamide, which occurs naturally when certain foods reach high temperatures, has been shown to increase the risk of cancer.

Head of communications at the FSA said, “Acrylamide is a chemical substance that occurs naturally in food as a result of heating. Acrylamide is formed when certain foods including starchy foods that contain the natural amino acid asparagine and sugars are heated at temperatures greater than 120°C.”

She went on to add that based upon evidence from animal studies as well as in vitro studies on human cells “acrylamide in food potentially increases the risk of developing cancer for consumers”.

It seems that those who like some crunch in their brunch may be in for some disappointment. The new FSA initiative suggests we should ‘Go for Gold’ and states on it’s official website that, “as a general rule of thumb, aim for a golden yellow colour or lighter when frying, baking, toasting or roasting starchy foods like potatoes, root vegetables and bread”.

The FSA also suggests we should look at packaging and cook food as it suggests, eat a varied balanced diet, and avoid putting raw potatoes in the fridge.

Retired athlete and Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis has publicly supported the campaign.

The OBE recipient said “As a mum, the wellbeing of my family is my top priority, particularly when it comes to the meals I cook for them at home. With so many factors to consider, it’s great that the FSA is helping people to understand the changes we can make to reduce acrylamide in the food we eat regularly at home.”

The FSA has stated that it will continue to research the risks of acrylamide in food and is “taking a lead in discussions in Europe on how best to support acrylamide reduction and increase consumer safety via a practical regulatory approach.”

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