EU: Developments on regulation of acrylamide in food

European experts are engaged in discussions to establish new legally binding limits for acrylamide in food, according to Euractiv’s sources from the EU. This development reopens a contentious file that has sparked heated debates in the past regarding this known carcinogenic substance that can form in starchy foods when cooked at high temperatures.    

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published two opinions on acrylamide in food, one in 2015 and another in 2022, which confirm previous studies linking the substance to an increased risk of cancer.    

In 2017, the EU introduced its first restrictions on acrylamide, however, member states failed to agree on maximum levels at that time. Instead, they implemented indicators for food companies to monitor their efforts in reducing acrylamide levels in products such as chips, crisps, bread, biscuits, and even coffee.  The EU regulation included a commitment from the Commission and member states to consider setting maximum levels for acrylamide in specific foods.    

According to sources from the EU, experts are currently engaged in discussions to establish new legally binding limits for acrylamide in certain food items, including products like vegetable crisps and cereal crisps. These discussions are taking place at a technical level and are based on data collected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) between 2020 and 2023. The outcome of these discussions is expected to be revealed in the latter half of this year, as reported by Euractiv.    

However, we must point out that, during our webinar on acrylamide in December 2022, Frans Verstraete, administrator at the EU Commission - DG SANTE, said that the technical discussions were anticipated to conclude in the first half of 2023, and the final adoption of the various regulatory measures was expected to follow in the course of 2023.    

It is now evident that not only has 2023 passed, but we have also surpassed the first half of 2024. European consumers are eagerly anticipating a resolution to this matter. This is evident from the recent actions of Safe Advocacy Europe (SAFE), which have rekindled the discussion by launching a campaign to bring the issue of acrylamide back onto the political agenda.      




Affidia Talks – webinar “Acrylamide & other process contaminants in food”