Wednesday, August 8, 2012

FDA Warning on Chips???

Recently on occasion I have been indulging in a chip or two. Hey, I am pregnant right now and those sweet and then salty cravings are to blame! The other day, while in a sandwich shop, I picked up a bag of chips and, as is normal for me, I scanned the ingredient list on the back of the bag. All of the ingredients were ones that I recognized, but then I noticed a little warning stamped on the bottom of the package.

I have never seen a warning on food before. It stated "This product contains acrylamide, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer. Acrylamide is not added to this product. It is created by browning potatoes. The FDA does not recommend that people stop eating potatoes. For more information, see the FDA's website at" Wow, I have never heard of this. So after putting the package of chips back on the rack (I couldn't stomach them after reading that) and eating my sandwich, I went home and visited the FDA website.

They report that "On April 24, 2002, researchers at the Swedish National Food Administration and Stockholm University reported finding the chemical acrylamide in a variety of fried and oven-baked foods. The initial Swedish research indicated that acrylamide formation is particularly associated with traditional high temperature cooking processes for certain carbohydrate-rich foods. In response to concerns about the potential risk of foodborne acrylamide based on the known toxicity of acrylamide at much higher doses than those seen in foods, the FDA began to analyze a variety of U.S. food products for acrylamide." You can see a list of their data by clicking here: Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food: Individual Food Products

Apparently, acrylamide  forms during the baking, frying, or roasting of certain kinds of foods, particularly starchy foods. This time no one is adding funky stuff to my food, thankfully. It forms during the baking, frying or roasting of certain plant-based foods. Boiling and steaming foods does not create acrylamide. French fries, potato chips, other fried and baked snack foods, roasted asparagus, canned sweet potatoes and pumpkin, canned black olives, roasted nuts, coffee, prune juice, breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies, bread crusts, and toast all contain varying levels of acrylamide. Think I better not forget my toast too long in the toaster anymore. Oh this makes me weep!

In California we have a thing known as Prop 65 which requires the State of California to notify consumers about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase. I have seen little signs in certain stores where they may sell lead crystal or there is something unfriendly in fake metal jewelry or handbags, but I have never before seen it listed on food. Rumor has it the sign is even being displayed next to the soy milk at Starbucks. Sometimes I think I feel better living in sweet ignorant bliss. I do on the other hand feel like being aware is a blessing and now that I know I can start to make more changes in my life to better it in the long-run.

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