Acrylamide-reducing yeast enzyme Acryleast has been given ‘organic suitable’ status in the EU.

Acryleast is a clean-label, non-GMO yeast enzyme that reduces acrylamide by up to 90% in products including biscuits, crackers and potato crisps, according to Kerry, which secured the licence to market the ingredient in 2018.

Acrylamide is a chemical created when foods, particularly starchy ones like bread, are cooked for long periods at temperatures above 120˚C. Lab tests have shown acrylamide in the diet causes cancer in animals and, while evidence from human studies has been inconclusive, the scientific consensus is that it has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

EU health chiefs have ramped up activity to mitigate acrylamide in recent years.

Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2158, which came into effect in April 2018, established best practice, mitigation measures and benchmark levels for the reduction of acrylamide in food. And an announcement last November expanded the list of bakery and potato products member states should monitor for acrylamide.

EU members have also been discussing setting maximum allowable levels of acrylamide in young children’s foods such as biscuits and rusks.

Receiving ‘organic suitable’ status meant Acryleast was the only organic-suitable acrylamide-reducing processing aid available in either the EU or US, stated Kerry.

The supplier added that the ingredient required no or minimal changes to manufacturing processes and had no impact on flavour, aroma and texture.

“These are challenging times for food manufacturers as they work to adapt to the emerging demands of today’s marketplace,” said Mike Woulfe, vice president of enzymes at Kerry. “One of these evolutions is that consumers are now more focused than ever on protecting their health and that of their children.”

“The EU continues to both expand and tighten its ongoing regulatory control of acrylamide’s presence in a wide variety of foodstuffs, especially with regard to the exposure faced by children, where rulings on maximum allowable limits are expected shortly,” said Woulfe.