European consumer advocates demand stricter regulations on acrylamide in food

In a renewed push for consumer protection, the European consumer advocacy group Safe Food Advocacy Europe (SAFE) has launched a campaign urging the new EU institutions to implement stricter regulations on acrylamide levels in food products. The association is particularly concerned about the potential risks posed to children and is calling for immediate action to address this pressing issue.    

Acrylamide, a chemical compound that forms in some foods cooked at high temperatures, has been linked to a range of health issues, including neurological issues, reproductive problems, and cancer.    

Despite acknowledging the efforts made by the European Commission in tackling this issue, SAFE expresses disappointment over the lack of action taken since 2017 to establish legally binding maximum levels of acrylamide in food products, as outlined in Regulation 2017/2158. The absence of defined regulations, combined with a significant lack of consumer awareness regarding acrylamide, poses a serious risk to individuals who unknowingly consume products containing elevated levels of the compound.    

To address these concerns, SAFE has initiated an extensive awareness campaign aimed to raise public awareness while also pressing EU policymakers to take decisive action. The group is calling for the establishment of legally binding maximum levels of acrylamide across a wide range of food categories, including potato chips, breakfast cereals, biscuits, and even roasted nuts and vegetable crisps.    

SAFE's campaign is bolstered by years of research and product testing conducted by the organization and its network of member consumer groups across Europe. These studies have consistently found that a significant portion of food products, from biscuits and crisps to breakfast cereals, exceed benchmark acrylamide levels.    

Notably, SAFE is urging the EU to set limits well below current benchmark levels, especially for foods consumed by infants and young children. The group cites studies suggesting that safe levels in baby foods could be as low as 1 μg/kg, far lower than the current 40 μg/kg benchmark.    

As the European Parliament and Commission begin new terms, SAFE is urging swift action on this issue. According to the group, in the face of mounting evidence and growing concerns, the time for action is now.