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25/07/2018 – News / Food Processing / Acrylamide / Carcinogenic / DSM International / The Netherlands

DSM’s new solution dramatically reduces levels of harmful cooking by-product acylamide


Dutch ingredients giant DSM International has just launched an enzymatic solution called PreventASe XR, which the firm says can reduce levels of acrylamide – a common, potentially carcinogenic by-product of the cooking process – by up to 95 per cent in certain higher-PH foods.


Acrylamide is produced in the manufacture of a variety of foods, including baked, fried or toasted bread; snack products like crisps, alongside some other products like coffee. In fact, any food that contains the naturally-occurring amino acid asparagine and reducing sugars (carbohydrates) will yield acrylamide once heated to temperatures over 120°C. Fried potato products like fries, crisps and hash browns have been found to contain the highest levels of acrylamide, while toasted bread can have up to 10 times as much acrylamide as untoasted bread.


Acrylamide is a proven carcinogen and poses severe health risks – damaging side-effects that prompted the EU to take action and regulate, with a new law coming into force in April this year. New rules require food producers to both identify sources of acrylamide in their goods, and demonstrate how they are working to cut down the content of the chemical in such products. 


The EU has established ‘benchmark’ levels of acrylamide for various food products, ranging from 350 micrograms (μg) of acrylamide per kilogramme for biscuits and cookies, to 750μg per kilogramme for potato crisps and 850μg per kilogramme for instant soluble coffee.


The benchmark levels for foods specifically targeted towards children – like baby foods and rusks – are notably lower, reflecting widespread concern around the health implications of acrylamide. Likewise, experts at the American Cancer Society advise people to keep their exposure to acrylamide as low as possible.


No impact on taste, appearance or texture


Within such a context, the launch of DSM International’s new innovation is significant. Any such ingredient capable of reducing acrylamide levels without requiring product reformulation would naturally be see as an attractive solution for manufacturers. 


Beyond that, DSM advises that its enzyme solution does not impact the taste, appearance or texture of the products to which it is applied. 


Given such benefits – and assuming the new PreventASe XR is cost-effective – we would expect to see huge interest in this product from many processed food players looking to drive down acrylamide content across their portfolio.

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