EU drops law to li­mit can­cer-lin­ked che­mi­cal in food

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

BEL­GI­UM - The Eu­ro­pean com­mis­si­on has drop­ped plans to le­gal­ly li­mit a per­va­si­ve but na­tu­ral­ly oc­cur­ring che­mi­cal found in food, that is lin­ked to can­cer, just days af­ter lob­bying by in­du­stry, the Gu­ar­di­an has lear­ned.

Cam­paig­ners say that leak­ed do­cu­ments re­ve­a­ling the le­gis­la­ti­ve retre­at show “un­due in­flu­en­ce” by the food in­du­stry over EU law-ma­king and a “per­ma­nent scan­dal”, alt­hough the is­sue is com­plex. Acry­la­mi­de is a ha­zar­dous sub­stan­ce found in the brow­ned and bur­ned parts of com­mon star­chy foods that ha­ve been fried, ro­a­sted or oven-coo­ked at tem­pe­ra­tu­res hig­her than 248C (478F). Cris­ps, po­ta­to chips, break­fast ce­reals and in­stant cof­fee all con­tain high le­vels of the sub­stan­ce, as do ba­by foods, bis­cuits and rusks. Scien­tists are still trying to quan­ti­fy the he­alth risks po­sed, but acry­la­mi­de has been ju­d­ged an “ex­tre­me­ly ha­zar­dous sub­stan­ce” by the US En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­ti­on Ag­en­cy. Last year, the Eu­ro­pean Food Sa­fe­ty Aut­ho­ri­ty (Ef­sa) found that acry­la­mi­de “po­ten­ti­al­ly in­crea­ses the risk of de­vel­o­ping can­cer in con­su­mers of all ages” and re­com­men­ded that ex­po­su­re be kept as low as pos­si­ble, as a sa­fe li­mit has not yet been de­ter­mi­ned. “Sin­ce any le­vel of ex­po­su­re to a ge­no­toxic sub­stan­ce could po­ten­ti­al­ly da­ma­ge DNA and lead to can­cer, Ef­sa’s scien­tists con­clu­de that they can­not set a to­le­ra­ble dai­ly in­ta­ke (TDI) of acry­la­mi­de in food,” the aut­ho­ri­ty said.

Acry­la­mi­de le­vels can be re­du­ced by using dif­fe­rent in­gre­dients and ad­di­ti­ves, or by chan­ging stor­a­ge me­thods and the tem­pe­ra­tu­re at which food is coo­ked. But this could af­fect food in­du­stry prac­ti­ce, costs and pro­duct tas­tes, and EU le­gis­la­ti­on in the area has so far been con­fi­ned to vo­lun­ta­ry co­des of prac­ti­ce. An EU re­gu­la­ti­on this year had been ex­pec­ted to firm the­se co­des up in­to mo­re ro­bust pu­blic he­alth pro­tec­ti­ons and a draft ver­si­on pro­du­ced in la­te Ju­ne seen by the Gu­ar­di­an took steps in that di­rec­ti­on. (The­gu­ar­di­an.com)

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