Do you like your toast well done or burnt?
Today The Food Standards Agency issued the warning that eating well done toast or crispy potatoes can bring a higher risk of cancer.
They have said that opting for a ‘golden colour’, rather than a dark brown, when frying, roasting, baking, grilling or toasting can cut the health risk.
And why you may ask? Its all because of the risks of acrylamide, a chemical compound that forms in some foods that are cooked at high temperatures (above 120c).
Acrylamide is not just found in toast – but in breakfast cereals, chips, potato products – for example children’s potato shapes or waffles – biscuits, crackers, crispbread and crisps. Sweet potatoes and beetroot, turnip, swede and parsnips are also on this list, along with high temperatures and longer cooking times, this can increase the levels even further.
The study by the FSA showed that acrylamide causes cancer in rats and mice in a lab – so they concluded that its probable it could also cause it in people.
Acrylamide forms due to a chemical reaction between certain sugars and an amino acid in the food.
The FSA have said that manufacturers have already taken steps to cut the levels of acrylamide in foods, but it was time for consumers to be more aware of the risks.
This is all about managing the risk over a lifetime – you don’t need to worry about the occasional meal.
So, another good reason to either steam, boil or microwave your food then – however, you can’t beat a good crispy roastie!
Food Safety in Early Years
Want to find out more about food safety in early years, healthy foods and nutrition for your setting? Then have a look at our new course Food Play – a healthy approach to good nutrition. Monica also delivers a range of CIEH recognised courses
About the author: Monica Price