Acrylamide, ABC new rules


EU Regulation 2017/1258 establishing mitigation measures and reference levels for the reduction of the presence of acrylamide in foods, (1) pursuant to the‘April 11, 2018, introduces a wide range of requirements, on 10 categories Of foods such as breads and fine baked goods, fried and non-fried potatoes, breakfast cereals, coffee and substitutes, early childhood foods.

All operators

who produce and market products belonging to the above categories must adopt a wide range of


, involving the revision of raw material supply contracts, recipes and manufacturing processes, self-control manuals, labels and B2B information. As well as appropriate sampling and analysis to be reported to health authorities. This is what EU Regulation 2017/1258 requires, (2) for the specific purpose of reducing and keeping acrylamide levels under control within the reference limits established in relation to each. (3) Next, the ABC of prescriptions for Food Business Operators (FBOs).

1) Raw potato products

Choice – to be documented – of varietyà Of potatoes suitable for the type of product and with the lowest content of acrylamide precursors, such as reducing sugars (fructose and glucose) and asparagine. To be employed

within the optimal storage period

. (4) Storage and transportation temperatures higher than 6°C, humidity controlà to prevent thesoftening, use of appropriate agentsTo prevent germination.


atate fries cut into sticks, other oil-fried or baked products made from potatoes

Analysis of potatoes before use, ‘

e.g., by a frying test, using colors as indicators of potentially high levels of reducing sugars

‘. Removal of immature tubers and cutting waste. Blanching the ‘Potato sticks to remove some of the reducing sugars from the outer surface‘. Prevent discoloration or blackening after cooking, avoid using reducing sugars to brown. If the oil outlet temperature of the fryer or that of the products exceeds 175 °C, FBOs must submit risk monitoring data.

In label, it is mandatory to indicate ‘The recommended methods of food preparation specifying the time, temperature, amountà In case of oven preparation/frying in oil/frying in a pan.‘.

B2B information must be validated by product type to ensure that products have optimal organoleptic characteristics at the lightest acceptable color for the specified cooking method (e.g., deep fryer, oven) and an acrylamide content below the reference level‘ established.

2) French fries from sliced potatoes (chips)

It is all about how to cook. If

the temperature of the oil on leaving the fryer exceeds 168 °C, FBOs present data to demonstrate that the acrylamide content in the finished product is as low as reasonably achievable

‘, within the defined limits. The moisture contentà following frying must be as high as possible, never less than 1%. Where appropriate, ‘

Selection by color (manual and/or optical-electronic) in the production line of potato chips (chips) after frying


3) Fine baked goods

On cookies, galettes, rusks, cereal bars,


, cones, waffles,


and bread with spices (gingerbread)-as well as crackers, crispbread, and bread substitutes-an initial attention should be paid to the agronomic techniques employed by suppliers. Good agricultural practices, in fertilization as in protection from fungal infections, ‘

In order to avoid high levels of asparagine in cereals.


In recipe, reduce or replace all or part of ammonium bicarbonate with alternative leavening agents, such as ‘the baking soda and acidifiers‘, or ‘sodium bicarbonate and sodium diphosphates with organic acids, or related potassic variants‘. With care not to increase the overall sodium content. Where possible, substitute ‘fructose or ingredients containing it, such as syrups and honey, with glucose or nonreducing sugars such as sucrose, particularly in recipes that include ammonium bicarbonate‘. Also consider the use of cereals with lower asparagine contents (‘

the highest contents are found in rye and, in descending order, in oats, wheat, maize, and rice, which has the lowest


). With attention finally to that ‘suppliers of heat-processed ingredients that have the potential for acrylamide formation conduct a risk assessment related to acrylamide and implement appropriate mitigation measures.

In processing

, apply ‘

heat at a temperature and during a time that will most effectively reduce the formation of acrylamide

‘. Baking should be done until a lighter coloring is achieved, increasing the moisture content of the final product. Also taking into account that ‘some ingredients used in the manufacture of fine baked goods may have undergone repeated heat treatment (e.g., pretreated grains, nuts or seeds, dried fruits, etc.).


and information


. ‘As for the premixes placed on the market to be cooked at home or in food service establishments, FBOs provide their customers with preparation instructions so that they cané acrylamide contents in final products are as low as reasonably achievable and below reference levels.’

4) Breakfast cereals

In the supply

of agricultural raw materials, attention to compliance with good practices with regard to fertilization and protection from fungal infection, ‘

in order to avoid high levels of asparagine in cereals


In recipe and new product development

, keep in mind that ‘

maize and rice products tend to contain less acrylamide than those made from wheat, rye, oats and barley

‘. Beware of the addition of ‘

Reducing sugars (e.g., fructose and glucose) and ingredients containing them (e.g., honey), taking into account (…) the fact that they can act as precursors for acrylamide formation if added prior to heat treatment steps


In the transformation, ‘FBOs identify an effective combination of temperature and heating times for the purpose of minimizing acrylamide formation‘. ‘To avoid the generation of acrylamide spikes, FBOs control the temperatures, times, and velocities of acrylamide spikes.à of power supply in the warm-up phase to achieve‘ the minimum moisture contentsà specifically defined for different final product categories. Assess the impact on acrylamide contents of reusing products in the process, where appropriate reducing or eliminating it.



In the composition of the mixtures Of coffee FBOs must assess the appropriate risk. Taking into account that ‘

Robusta grain products tend to have higher acrylamide contents than grain products of the variety




In the process of roasting, FBOs identify critical conditions in order to minimize acrylamide formation by introducing their systematic control in the Pre-Requirements Program that is part of Good Processing Practices. They also examine ‘

the possibility


of using asparaginase as far as possible and effective in reducing the presence of acrylamide


6) Cereal-based coffee successors (





Attention to good agricultural practices, as provided for breakfast cereals. Privilege of cereals with low asparagine content. Caution in adding reducing sugars and cereals that contain them. Where ingredients other than cereals are used, apply due care to them as well. Systematic monitoring of roasting conditions on a par with coffee.

7) Chicory-based coffee successors (





FBOs purchase only low asparagine cultivars and ensure that no excessive and late nitrogen has been applied during the chicory growing season.‘ In recipes, tie the use of other coffee substitutes (e.g., chicory fiber, roasted cereals) to their demonstrated effectiveness of ‘Reduce the acrylamide content in the final product. Inclusion of systematic monitoring of roasting conditions in self-control procedures.

8) Early childhood cookies and infant cereals.

Verification of agricultural practices adopted by grain suppliers to avoid the presence of high asparagine contents in them. The FBOs ‘

use asparaginase to reduce the asparagine content of the raw material flour

‘ or, when conditions do not permit, they employ ‘

flour raw material low in acrylamide precursors such as fructose, glucose and asparagine.

In recipe, consider using grains with lower asparagine content, not forgetting that the presence of bran requires more attention. Carefully evaluate the addition of reducing sugars and consider any options aimed at reducing their content in finished products. Attention to the use of heat-treated ingredients, with timely verification even of those offered by new suppliers. More details to follow.

During the process, monitoring of moisture content and acrylamide concentration in dry matter. Integration of temperature control into the Haccp plan.

9) Early childhood foods made from prunes.

(in jars, low acidity)

FBOs select ‘Raw materials low in (…) reducing sugars such as fructose and glucose, and asparagine‘. Verification of good agricultural practices applied in grain cultivation. ‘In purchase contracts for prune puree, FBOs shall indicate obligations to ensure that heat treatment regimes designed to reduce the presence of acrylamide in prune puree have been applied in the process of making prune puree.‘ Temperature control with attention to microbiological risks.



In supply contracts of raw materials, FBOs verify, including through periodic audits, that their direct suppliers comply with good agricultural practices-in fertilization as well as in protection from fungal infections- ‘in order to avoid high levels of asparagine in the waxthem‘.

In recipe, ‘substitute ingredients that potentially increase acrylamide levels in the final product (…); this concerns, for example, the use of nuts and seeds roasted at low rather than high temperatures.‘ They replace fructose with glucose, ‘especially in recipes containing ammonium bicarbonate (E503).

In the processing, FBOs must stretchre yeast fermentation times‘. In addition, ‘make sure the bread is baked until it reaches a lighter final coloration‘. More generally, ‘reduce applied heat by optimizing temperature and cooking time to the extent possible’.

B2B labels and information. The FBOs ‘

provide instructions for baking bread when the latter is to be completed at home, in areas set aside for baking, at outlets or catering facilities


Sampling and analysis (EU reg. 2017/1258, Annex III).


of sampling and


of their products is ‘

ascertain the presence of acrylamide and verify the effectiveness of mitigation measures, i.e., that acrylamide levels are consistently below reference levels

‘ defined in Annex IV to reg. EU 2017/1258.


shall be representative of each product type, defined as ”

groups of products with identical or similar ingredients, recipe, process design and/or process controls, where these elements are likely to affect acrylamide levels in the finished product


Frequency. ‘FBOs conduct sampling and analysis with periodicity.à At least annually for products that have a known and well-controlled acrylamide content.’ Based on the risk analysis, FBOs ‘carry out sampling and analysis more frequently for products with the potential to exceed the reference level‘.

The methods

of analysis and accreditation requirements for laboratories are defined in Annex III, Part II.

Corrective actions, mitigation measures. ‘If the analytical result (…) indicates that a product has exceeded the reference level, or contains a higher amount of acrylamide than expected (taking into account previous analysis, but below the reference level), FBOs shall conduct a review of the mitigation measures applied and take additional possible mitigation measures to ensure that the acrylamide content in the finished product is below the reference level. This must be demonstrated by conducting representative re-sampling and new analysis after additional mitigation measures are introduced.

Information to relevant authorities. ‘

FBOs make available annually upon request to the authority


competent the analytical results obtained from the analysis, together with a description of the products analyzed. Mitigation measures taken to reduce acrylamide content below the reference level are described in detail for products that exceed the reference level.’

Dario Dongo


(1) V.

(2) Cf. reg. EU 2017/1258, Annexes I and II

(3) See reg. EU 2017/1258, Annex IV

(4) In contracts for the supply of potatoes, FBOs should

specify the maximum content of reducing sugars and the maximum amount of bruised, stained or damaged potatoes

(5) See footnote 3